The go-ahead was given in April 2020: the international standardisation project ISO 5060 was launched at ISO level with the aim of creating a standard that defines general guidelines for evaluating translations. With the cooperation of the German mirror committee and the DIN “Translation Services” working committee, and under the leadership of Dr. Christopher Kurz and Ilona Wallberg, the standard took shape over the last two years and is now ready.
Already a committed DIN member in the subcommittee for translation services, oneword also considers this project to be extremely useful. After all, ISO 5060 is another important building block for a standardised translation process that begins with the client clearly stating the translation requirements and ends with high-quality translation.
DIN 8579 “Translation-oriented writing”, which is intended to ensure fewer queries, translation errors and costs through better source texts, was recently published. Once the text to be translated is ready, clients must define requirements for the translations to be produced, including budget, time frame, target language(s), style specifications, terminology, risk level, etc.
These often very individual project specifications define the equally individual translation processes, which are standardised by ISO 17100 and ISO 18587. What has been missing so far is a standard that deals with the end product of the process.
To avoid misunderstandings: the new standard does not define the nature of translations, because translations as such cannot be standardised. ISO 5060 builds on the quality definition of ISO 9001, which defines quality as the degree to which requirements for a product or service are met. ISO 5060 considers translations as a product that must meet certain requirements and provides guidelines for analytically and objectively evaluating whether or not these requirements have been met. It does not matter whether the translation was produced in accordance with ISO 17100 (using human translators) or ISO 18587 (using machine translation systems).
ISO 5060 helps users to set up an evaluation strategy, to select and define error categories, to perform evaluations and also to create evaluation forms. Furthermore, there are specifications for evaluators’ qualifications.
The standard follows the principle of a minimum degree of complexity, meaning that the broadest possible spectrum of users can use the standard to conclude whether an evaluated translation has been delivered as ordered or not.
The evaluation can be carried out internally or externally and can be performed for each process step: after the translation, after the revision or, for example, after the final delivery by a translation service provider: it depends whose output is being evaluated. The standard is aimed at both clients and translation service providers, whether freelance translators, translation companies or in-house translation departments.
ISO 5060 will be adopted into the German body of standards and a version is already available in German, meaning that future users can do an initial check of the draft standard E DIN 5060:
Comments can be made about the draft standard until 5 October 2022 on the DIN Draft Standard Portal. Experts who would like to help shape the content can make comments and suggested changes section by section.
Registration and access to the online portal are free of charge. How this works is clearly explained in an article (only available in German) or in the user guide (only available in German).