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A Hard Look at Certifications: Are They Worth It?

Certifications - Translation - The more you know - Food for thought

One of the elements of business growth in language services for businesses and translators is becoming recognized and certified by standards organizations. Reputable companies often hire individuals, firms or organizations that are certified due to the feeling of trust it might give them – the same goes for translators that want to demonstrate professional value. It assures both parties that they will deliver excellent service or follow strict protocols. However, as we’ll explore with you, that isn’t always the case.

For a business that hopes to compete in the global space, it might be essential to get certifications although it might not guarantee more work, it more simply communicates shows that the company is business-oriented and serious.

So let’s lay out some of the big ones in the translation industry and explore what they mean!


A business owner ponders on which translation certificate is the best


ISO 9001 Certification

ISO 9001 is an international standard published in 1987. It specifies guidelines and requirements for a quality management system. ISO 9001 was published by the international organization for standardization to specifically cater for the standardization needs of both big and small organizations. It helps organizations or companies stay on track through a guided system and focus on repeating the same level of quality across projects. In addition, they use the standard to demonstrate that they can provide products and services within the standard requirement. So think of it as a “you’re getting what you paid for” type framework.

An ISO-certified translation services company has proven its commitment to following globally recognized standards and best practices to ensure that they deliver the highest quality of service.

Although translation companies that are not ISO certified can still provide high-quality translations, they cannot guarantee it the same way. Suppose a translation company has no demonstrable way to communicate guaranteed quality. Do you think they will go the extra length in ensuring they deliver a quality translation service? ISO-certified business translation service ensures they provide accurate translations, keep a record of every file for future reference, and review their performance periodically—all these aims are to make sure that satisfying the customer is their main focus.


ISO 17100 Certification

ISO 17100 is an internationally recognized new standard for companies covering the basic process of providing translation services. It establishes and defines the work of translators, their technical resources and service quality. Its purpose is to outline the services that customers will receive in a set of recognized procedures performed following best practices.

As a translator, being ISO 17100 certified is an indication that you have grown in your profession and have legal backings to carry out business anywhere. The ISO 17100 standard creates a definite structure for translation service. It serves as part of simplifies the contract between a client and translator.

ISO 17100 is beneficial to a company, clients, customers, and the staff of a registered company in a myriad of ways. To a company, it helps prove its capabilities in terms of the quality of service provided. This is achieved through an effective database of case files.


  • To a client, the ISO 17100 can serve as a tender for acquiring a contract that requires a registered management system. It also ensures a proper scrutinization and management of a client’s case. Qualified managers and colleagues do this to eliminate the margin for errors.
  • To a customer, you being certified further boosts their confidence in the service you provide. It assures them that everything they will receive is done according to a recognized specialist standard.
  • To a staff, an ISO 1710 certified company ensures that they follow through with the right staff development programs with updated techniques and processes.

Certifications are essential to a professional! In addition to giving you an edge as a company when bidding for contracts it also makes receiving the project work easier for both parties as customers would be mandated to obey the laid down standards and not necessarily decide every process and procedure.


A grey haired man thinks about translation certifications_scaled




EN 15038 Certification

If you are seriously into translation, this certification was specifically developed for you! The EN 15038 standard was written in 2006 to fill the gap that the ISO 9001 could not fill. Before its development, translators and translation service companies sought ISO-9001 to demonstrate commitment. However, it did not address the sort of translation-specific processes required to prove quality outcomes. So, it wasn’t widely accepted in the industry.

The EN 15038 was published by the European Committee of standardization. The standard aims at providing certification for translation service to ensure a consistent quality management system. The standard gained acceptance worldwide, and at a certain time, it became a requirement for tender.

In 2015 the certification was withdrawn by the CEN, and the ISO-17100 was adopted as the new European standard.


A skeptical business owner reviews a translation companies certifications


CGSB Certification

The Canadian General Standards Board (CGSB) is a standardization organization owned by the Canadian federal government. They offer a client-centered, standards development service. The service they render supports things ranging from safety, the economy, health, environmental interests and government.

As a translator, this certification puts you in good light and proves that you obey laid down rules and go the extra mile to ensure quality. So, if you were asking is CGSB worth it – the answer is definitely yes.


Now that you have got a general idea of different types of certifications and their application the next thing to do is to answer the question, “is it worth it”? Don’t hurry to answer, simply think it through. You can really see that it depends on your profession, the types of work you might want to do or contracts you can acquire.

Remember, if you want your translation work done right – start with Ad Astra!