M Sudheen
Founder Crystal Hues Limited

[More about him here]

Importance of Quality Certifications, ISO for Translation, Localization Companies

Quality today encompasses much more than most people think. Its important to remember that quality covers a number of areas, from the relationship that the LSP builds with its customers, to the reliability of its processes for selecting the language professionals who work on its projects and other more specific elements of service, such as the correct use of terminology, traceability in management process and security of the information it handles, etc.

To help client evaluate all of this, ISO certification comes handy as the ISO auditors objectively and independently certify that a company complies with the applicable standards, and that the company follows a series of processes that are deemed to be optimal for ensuring that the product or service meets the customer’s expectations. Furthermore, the fact that ISO certification is audited annually provides further assurance that the supplier is following the due quality controls and processes, and is continually striving to improve customer satisfaction.

Radhakrishnan Mani, COO of Crystal Hues Limited heading the localization vertical says, “Let me share my experience from a previous assignment where my work involved meeting the European LSPs (Language Service Provider) to validate and audit their translation and localization quality process. Most of the LSPs and Translation agencies had almost similar processes but managed in different styles with some having automated process and some having manual process. However, the fact that I was deeply involved in QA process that the LSPs as vendors/suppliers, shows the importance that clients usually attach to QA.”

He further adds, “CHL has ISO 9001:2015, ISO/IEC 27001:2013 & ISO 17100:2015 certifications. The ISO 9001:2015 is a standard quality certification while ISO 17100:2015 certification is specifically meant for translation service providers. The ISO/IEC 27001:2013 certification is aimed at ensuring information and data security processes.”

The Localisation Maturity Model (LMM) by Common Sense Advisory, Inc is good reference source to evaluate the various stages that an LSP progresses in its growth. Each stage of the LMM indicates requires implementation of certain processes which ultimately leads to meeting client requirements on various parameters that may be broadly included in quality assurance.

Sudheen M, founder of Crystal Hues Limited (CHL) says, “I was pleasantly surprised to know that CHL already had processes that met ISO requirements when we first applied for ISO certification. So, if you are process oriented with a consistent focus on quality assurance, getting a certification like ISO is easy at any point. I insist strict on-ground implementation of processes in true spirit and regular internal quality audit in CHL unlike many organisations that are just focused on merely getting the certification. I have seen numerous benefits and advantages of having a quality management system implemented in CHL.”

On being asked what is the right size/stage in the life cycle of a business when one should go in for quality certification, Sudheen says, “The moment you have to rely on someone else for ensuring quality delivery, you need to have defined processes that the other team member should follow and that’s precisely when you should get your quality certification. Typically organizations with over 10 FTE (full time employee) should considering going in for certification.” 

Answering to the question on how the Indian language industry is placed vis-à-vis global language industry in terms of standardization, quality orientation and certification, Sudheen says, “Though the language service providers in India are reasonably conscious on the quality front, the lack of standardisation is quite prevalent. The reason ranges from lack of awareness to not having a forum like CITLoB that promotes knowledge share and industry best practices. Even getting an ISO certification for language companies is challenge since the auditors and consultants do not have exposure to our industry.”

He added that, “Translation as a business was traditionally a specialised service offered by skilled individual professionals.  The fact remains that translator is not a recognised a profession by the administration. But with increasing use of technology and automation, one can no more avoid the resources required for such implementation even in the smallest of LSPs.”