ASTM F2575 - 14

    Standard Guide for Quality Assurance in Translation

    Active Standard ASTM F2575 | Developed by Subcommittee: F43.03

    Book of Standards Volume: 15.11


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    Significance and Use

    4.1 Audience—This guide is intended to serve requesters and end users of translation, providers of such services, either internal or external, and training institutions, so as to facilitate clear communication, thereby avoiding potential losses in time, money, and quality during the life of a translation project.

    4.2 Translation Supply Chain—The end user of a translation (the person who actually reads the target-language text) is often not the person who requests the translation. The requester, who can be an individual or hold nearly any position within an organization, may not know the target language or even the source language and thus may not be able to evaluate the translation personally. Likewise, the translation service provider contacted by the requester may not be the person who actually translates the document. Thus, it is important to have a standard guide for relationships between the requester and the translation service provider(s) so that certain questions are answered before starting a translation project—questions for which answers are critical to the successful delivery of a quality translation through the translation supply chain to the end user. That chain often includes the following parties: end user, requester, project manager, translator, editor, and any other additional personnel needed to complete the project (please see definitions in Section 3). In some cases, the same person may perform more than one function. For example, the end user and the requester can be the same person, and the project manager and the translator can be the same individual.

    4.3 Importance of Specifications—Quality translation cannot be defined on the premise that there is only one correct, high-quality translation for any given source text. Certainly, there can be many different incorrect translations, but there can also be a variety of correct ones, depending on the specifications defined for a given project and the choices made by the individual translator. This guide includes a list of parameters (see Section 8) that need to be addressed and documented in writing to obtain a set of specifications that can be used to evaluate the quality of a particular translation. Specifications are defined in terms of the purpose of the translation and the needs and expectations of the end user. A set of specifications is not a metric, but could be used as the basis for defining a metric.

    1. Scope

    1.1 This guide identifies factors relevant to the quality of language translation services for each phase of a translation project. The guide is intended for use by all stakeholders, with varying levels of knowledge in the field of translation.

    1.2 This guide is designed to provide a framework for agreement on specifications for translation projects. Within this framework, the participants in a service agreement can define the processes necessary to arrive at a product of desired quality to serve the needs and expectations of the end user.

    1.3 This guide does not provide specific metrics.

    1.4 This guide also includes a list of specification parameters that shall be considered before work begins.

    1.5 Translation can be viewed in a number of contexts.

    1.5.1 One is that of globalization, internationalization, localization, and translation (GILT), which takes products or services created for one audience and makes them suitable to various foreign language audiences, whether in the home country or around the globe. In the case of products or services that are accompanied by or contain textual material, this process must be sensitive to cultural aspects of the geographic region and language of specific markets, sometimes referred to as locales.

    1.5.2 Translation can also be viewed in the context of various government practices, including communicating an identical, uniform message to many locales at the same time, that is, not altering the message even slightly for individual locales, and, in information gathering, retaining the original flavor of the source text, purposely avoiding localization.

    1.5.3 Finally, translation can be viewed in a more general context. Although much translation is done in a GILT context or for government purposes (for example, diplomacy, law enforcement, health and human services, security, and so forth), there are many other types of translation performed for the understanding of materials (for example, journals, letters, news broadcasts, and communications) that have been written in another language. Some types of translation may not include localization.

    1.6 This guide offers an organized collection of information and does not recommend a specific course of action. This guide cannot replace education or experience and should be used in conjunction with professional judgment. Not all aspects of this guide can be applicable in all circumstances. This ASTM guide is not intended to represent or replace the standard of care by which the adequacy of a given professional service shall be judged, nor should this guide be applied without consideration of a project’s unique aspects. The word “Standard” in the title of this guide means only that the guide has been approved through the ASTM International consensus process.

    1.7 This guide does not address interpreting (also called interpretation), which involves spoken language as opposed to written language (see Guide F2089).


    2. Referenced Documents (purchase separately) The documents listed below are referenced within the subject standard but are not provided as part of the standard.

    ASTM Standards

    F2089 Guide for Language Interpretation Services

    ISO Standards

    ISO90002005 Quality Management Systems--Fundamentals and Vocabulary

    DIN Standard

    DIN2345 Translation Contracts


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 03.080.20 (Services for companies)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code 82110000(Writing and translations)


    DOI: 10.1520/F2575-14

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