Expert presentation: Optimum translation performance with ISO 17100 and ISO 18587

The increasing amount of opportunities for machine translation are also increasing the requirements for professional use. As a result, there are now two important standards for service providers: DIN EN ISO 17100 for translation services and DIN ISO 18587 for post-editing. In this expert presentation, we will show you how both can be optimally applied together in practice.

The digital age is continually bringing new ways of working and new work processes. Standards help to make them reliable and of high quality. This also applies to the translation industry, where machine translation systems now in theory make it possible to produce texts quickly and economically in many languages. In practice, however, specialist texts, technical documentation or product descriptions cannot be translated completely without errors based on artificial intelligence. It also requires human expertise in the form of post-editing. This development is also reflected in the developments of the associated standards. For example, DIN EN ISO 17100 as the standard for translation services was supplemented in 2017 by DIN ISO 18587 specifically for the post-editing of machine-translated texts.

A comparison of DIN EN ISO 17100 and DIN ISO 18587

Transparency and the highest quality in all our processes have always been our commitment. We have been ISO 17100-certified since 2013 and supplemented this with ISO 18587 certification in 2019. Taking a look at the details shows why:

DIN EN ISO 17100 specifies the requirements for the qualification of translators and revisers. The focus is on providing a high-quality service. Overall, compliance with the standard ensures that all the necessary resources and process and testing steps are available for the best possible processing of the translation project and that all the client’s translation requirements are met. However, the standard explicitly excludes machine translation.

DIN ISO 18587, on the other hand, focuses on increasing productivity through machine translation. It certifies post-editing, which is the professional checking and post-processing of machine pre-translations by trained post-editors. This supplementary standard is necessary because the guidelines for traditional translation processes cannot be transferred to post-editing on a one-to-one basis. It therefore designates important quality assurance standards for dealing with machine translations.

Clear advantages for project planning

ISO 18587 is thus a necessary supplement to ISO 17100 in times when machine translation is being used in more and more areas. But what does this mean in practice? Can translation processes that use machine pre-translation followed by post-editing also be ISO 17100-compliant? How do they relate to other regulations and standards? Does the IEC/IEEE 82079-1 documentation standard allow the use of machine translation systems in the translation process?

Eva-Maria Tillmann, our head and expert in quality management, answered these and other questions at the tcworld conference. Her expert presentation including many practical examples is now available as a demonstrative video (only available in German).

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