When it comes to producing translations of the highest standard, process and quality go hand in hand. I mean, have you ever seen quality work come from a flawed process? I haven’t.
In many industries, including the translation industry, there are different ways for service providers to ensure that their work not only meets that standard but keeps getting better and better. I figured the only way to go is ISO, ISO 9001, for continuous quality improvement. This process has to be certified by the International Organization for Standardization, and tied in with serious measurement of customer satisfaction, or it doesn’t work.
Unfortunately, too many companies get ISO for marketing purposes only. They aren’t serious about it, and it shows. Anyway, here’s how it works.
Transparency: No mysteries here. Document everything, from process to development of new products, services and solutions. If there are any questions as to what happened in a particular case, the documentation should be able to clearly shine light on what has happened and why.
Communication: You should always know what is going on. The organization creates and follows a quality policy that serves the best interests of the customers by measuring. This isn’t just policy, it’s culture. Staff and management must all be on the same page. Open channels keep everyone agile.
Accountability: You will always know who to praise and who to ask to change their ways. The organization is responsible in its actions, inviting feedback and participating in audits. On a regular basis, the organization reviews performance at all levels, performs internal audits and submits to external audits in order to identify what is being done well and what needs to be done differently.
Continuous improvement: Things should only get better. A real ISO outfit looks to what’s gone wrong, then gets to the root cause to fix it for the next time. That’s what it’s all about.
I heart ISO. It’s been an amazingly powerful tool for us, and for our clients who are living the 9001 dream. (You know who you are.) To do it right requires patience, perseverance and practice, but the payoff is priceless – a good night’s sleep. By not repeating your problems you end up with a lot fewer to trouble you. At any rate, it’s the key for us to create better translations right from the start.