ISO 9001:2008 is a well-defined method which offers assurance to customers that they are obtaining services from a company that can deliver quality consistently. ISO 9001 is a set of international standards establishing quality management and quality assurance systems in organisations. As a third-party certification, it authenticates a supplier’s adherence to a well-identified, well-defined, well-documented set of quality procedures which facilitate the delivery of products and services.
In other words, ISO 9001:2008 examines everything a company does to deliver its professional service or business product. Applied to the world of translation, it is important to note that ISO 9001:2008 cannot guarantee the quality or accuracy of a specific translation. However, it guarantees that you will receive a high-quality, professional service, managed and measured in an objective manner.
The primary purpose of the ISO 9001:2008 standard is to assure the customer that the translation agency in question has documented and maintained a quality system which ensures the highest possible quality of its product. It is impossible to obtain ISO 9001:2008 certification unless a company’s processes conform to specified international standards, through which a company and its employees focus their attention on quality, correcting mistakes, and preventing error recurrence.
For example, the ISO 9001:2008 standard requires that some form of measuring customer satisfaction is directly incorporated into the company’s core processes, as well as procedures for dealing with customer feedback. Also, the quality of the suppliers (in this case the translators who carry out the work for the agency) must be objectively measured on a regular basis.
Therefore, although an ISO 9001:2008 certified translation agency cannot always guarantee the quality of a particular translation, it can guarantee the quality of its service and that procedures are set in place that help provide an environment which encourages a high-quality product. In such a subjective industry, this is as objective as it gets. Providing this kind of peace of mind is what differentiates an ISO certified company from the rest.