The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is an international standard setting group composed of representatives from a variety of national standards organizations. The ISO issues different certificates for businesses that operate within certain quality standards. Businesses that wish to receive an ISO certificate must undergo a thorough auditing process by a third party registrar every year. This audit ensures that the company is conducting business according to a set of requirements, which is not based on the company’s size, or their public or private status. As Charlene Nagy, from Confluent Translations, stated, “While many companies that are required to have ISO standards in various fields are now requiring vendors to be ISO certified, they must remember that certification is based on the company’s procedures, measurable results and processes for improvement it is not necessarily a guarantee of quality.”
The ISO 9001 certificate is specifically issued to companies for meeting the standards of having a quality management system. For businesses such as a translation services company, attaining an ISO 9001 certificate shows their dedication to producing quality results each and every time they provide a service. However, some companies will try and make themselves seem more qualified by listing several other certifications from ISO, such as the one pertaining to medical devices or environmental management. These are not relevant to their companies’ practices and therefore don’t add any additional value to the services they provide.
Consumers have to be cautious because some companies are taking advantage of the fact that most customers don’t know what each individual ISO certificate stands for. For instance, a translation company could list on their site that their qualifications include an ISO 9001 certificate, along with ISO 14001 and ISO 29001 certificates. At a glance, this could make this particular company look more qualified than a company that just simply lists the ISO 9001 certificate. However, those two extra ISO certificates are for environmental management and quality management systems for petroleum and natural gas, which have no extra benefit or qualifications for running a successful and quality foreign language translation company. This has recently become a growing trend, and it is important for consumers to recognize which ISO certificates are relevant to the different types of services offered by businesses. So when looking at service companies, it is always a good idea to not only look at their certifications, but also examples of their work and reviews from previous customers.