Quality Standard approved by the Association of Estonian Translation Companies
The purpose of the Quality Standard is to ensure, in cooperation with clients, that translations are performed in the best possible way and meet clients’ expectations. The Quality Standard applies to the whole translation process, from the receipt of orders to the delivery of completed translations to clients and feedback.
Areas of quality control:
1. Client management
2. Resource management
3. Quality management
4. Management of translation projects
1. Client management Client management is necessary to ensure that translations meet both clients’ needs and their intended purpose. In order to understand these needs as accurately as possible, translation companies (TCs) must collect, update and make use of relevant information. Client management comprises:
1.1. Client information
1.1.1. Contact details
TCs must have a system that ensures that client details, contact persons and other such information are recorded and available to those who are authorised to use them.
1.1.2. Archiving texts
TCs must have a system for archival of translations as required so that source texts, translations and other details of previously ordered work are available when needed.
1.2. Processing of orders
1.2.1. TCs must have a procedure for recording client instructions for every translation.
1.2.2. TCs shall talk to clients to obtain the information and full details of contact persons that are necessary to fulfil orders.
1.2.3. If requested to do so, TCs shall provide clients with relevant information (price list, price offers, information regarding quality/confidentiality assurance procedures, etc.).
1.2.4. Price offers are generally made and confirmed in writing. If needed, agreements shall be entered for the performance of work.
1.2.5. TCs shall agree to inform clients of any potential deterioration in quality in relation to urgent work.
1.3. Cooperation with clients
1.3.1. TCs shall do their utmost to maintain communication with clients during the work process, for example consulting clients when necessary for explanations as to the content of source texts and specifications or confirmation of terms. TCs shall try to ascertain and correct any inaccuracies, errors and deficiencies in source texts by consulting clients.
1.3.2. TCs shall ensure that relevant information is delivered to the person performing the work.
1.3.3. Upon mutual agreement, TCs shall submit translations to clients for review before final delivery of completed translations.
1.3.4. TCs shall register feedback received from clients and, in the event of problems in translations that have been issued, endeavour to avoid them in the future and fulfil all justified requests from clients.
TCs shall ensure delivery of ordered work at the agreed time, completed and formalised as requested. TCs shall submit invoices in accordance with the Accounting Act and pursuant to (in order of prevalence) agreements, quotes submitted by the TC and/or TC price lists.
TCs shall ensure that confidentiality is observed by their employees and subcontractors in processing works, taking appropriate measures to perform this obligation. If necessary, translation companies shall enter into confidentiality agreements with clients.
2. Resource management
TCs shall guarantee that the appropriate resources necessary for ensuring the high-quality performance of translations ordered by clients are available.
Resource management comprises two parts:
* human resources management
* material resources management
2.1. Human resources
2.1.1. Full-time personnel
TCs shall have personnel employed in full-time positions for performance of the following duties:
* client service (exchange of information, recording and archiving of information, etc.)
* provision of quotes and project management
* quality assurance
Note: the majority of full-time translators/editors must have an educational background in philology or other professional education and translating experience.
2.1.2. Selection criteria for subcontractors
TCs must have developed principles for the selection of subcontractors and the systematic monitoring of their work. TCs must pay attention to the requirement for people performing translations to have the relevant qualifications and experience as translators. Where possible, translators/proofreaders/editors should be selected whose native language is the target language. Other equally important criteria include knowledge of the subject matter being translated and possession of the necessary equipment and communication facilities used.
TCs must pay constant attention to their employees’ development (in-house training, training courses, professional literature, language advice, specialisation, etc.).
TCs must ensure that their employees are instructed and provided with information that contributes to the quality of translation.
2.2. Material resources
TCs shall use material resources to provide their services, including:
* office equipment and equipment enabling Internet access
* software (computer software and preferably also translation software, databases, electronic dictionaries)
* reference materials (dictionaries, other printed sources of information, professional literature in various forms)
* archiving systems for the recording, secure saving and storage of data and material received from clients in regard to orders (source texts, original examples, auxiliary material) in accordance with confidentiality requirements
* database of translators/subcontractors enabling the storage of updated and organised data about their experience and skills and to ensure the availability of such information to the people who require it.
3. Quality management
Implementation of quality supervision is essential for TCs and encompasses the whole process of carrying out orders so as to ensure that services are provided in compliance with clients’ needs.
3.1. Areas of management responsibility
3.1.1. TCs shall have (an) officially designated individual(s) responsible for all stages in which service is provided and feedback as well as for the functioning of the quality system in compliance with this standard and the written procedures established by TCs.
3.1.2. The individual(s) responsible shall ensure that TCs have adequate human and material resources for carrying out the orders they accept.
3.1.3. TCs shall also appoint (an) individual(s) responsible for the existence of order/project control systems and who ensure(s) that orders are performed in accordance with documented agreements.
3.1.4. TCs shall have job descriptions on file for employees for all stages of the performance of orders.
3.2. Verifying the performance of orders
TCs shall employ empirical methods for carrying out orders in accordance with the level of refinement required by clients. All translations shall undergo proofreading or editing and review before delivery.
If verification procedures have been agreed with clients, TCs shall ensure that these procedures are accurately adhered to and properly supervised.
3.3. Monitoring of the quality system
(An) appointed individual(s) shall be responsible for compliance with this standard, checking where necessary that the requirements established by this standard are being met and taking appropriate measures to deal with problem areas.
TCs shall introduce and explain to their employees the requirements of this Quality Standard to the extent required for their work.
3.4. Checking the quality of translations
In accepting orders TCs undertake to inform translators of the requirements and wishes of clients. In accepting jobs translators confirm that they have understood the linguistic and stylistic requirements of the work and shall observe all of the obligations of the translation. Proofreaders/editors shall check and be responsible for the correction of the work of translators. Unsatisfactory translations shall be identified through proofreading, editing or pre-delivery review and other verification stages so that they may be corrected before being issued.
If it appears that a translation does not meet the client’s requirements in terms of linguistic quality, style and/or other agreed criteria, the system that has been developed shall be used to amend it, the client informed accordingly where necessary and other measures taken to meet the agreed requirements. Contracted translators shall be informed of unsatisfactory translations by way of feedback and measures taken (whether involving the respective translator or not) to correct such translations so that they meet clients’ requirements.
4. Management of translation projects
Translation projects can be divided into the following stages:
4.1. enquiry received
4.2. project data obtained
4.3. project analysis – TCs study source materials and agree with clients on the details of performance of the work (need for localisation, confidentiality requirements, support services, deadlines, etc.)
4.4. required resources evaluated
4.5. quotes prepared in accordance with the terms and conditions ascertained and agreed upon
4.6. order confirmed
4.7. project planning (people carrying out work, interim deadlines, entry into project agreements, submitting work for client review before final delivery, etc.)
4.8. employees given instructions
4.10. proofreading/editing, pre-delivery review
4.12. feedback obtained, incl. complaints dealt with
TCs must have established verifiable procedures for all stages.