Why is ISO 17100 important?

IMD TranslationBy Legal Futures Associate IMD Legal Translation

Choosing the right legal translation provider can be challenging – how do you choose a translation provider and how can you be sure of the quality they will provide?

When your cases are pilling up and time to research through umpteen different providers isn’t really an option baring ISO 17100 in mind could help you separate some of the wheat from the chaff. Naturally considerations around language pair, legal area, and subject specialism will also come into play, but as a starting point you cant go too far wrong by looking at  who is ISO 17100 certified. But what does ISO 17100 certified mean?!

Read on (or send this article to your paralegal or practice manager) to find out what it means and why it is essential for your legal translations.

What are ISO standards?

Many people, including lawyers, be they solicitors or barristers, may be unfamiliar with ISO certification and how this impacts their choices to work with other businesses. ISO standards are developed and also enforced by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) – a non-governmental organisation recognised worldwide. The International Organisation for Standardisation is responsible for establishing global standards across a broad range of industries. ISO standards are designed to provide quality assurance when choosing product or service providers.

What is ISO 17100 certification?

ISO 17100 certification is a set of standards that play an essential role in enforcing standardised practices and quality processes for translation services. This certification can help you identify quality translation service providers, as you know they have been checked and approved by an official third party.  The ISO 17100:2015 standard describes:

 “requirements for the core processes, resources, and other aspects necessary for the delivery of a quality translation service that meets applicable specifications.”

A third-party organisation will take the guidelines set out in ISO 17100 and assess a translation provider’s practices against these standards. If the third party finds that the company complies with or exceeds these standards, they will be issued with ISO 17100 certification. The certification is proof that the company has done the work to ensure that the practices and standards set out in ISO 17100 are being met throughout their business.

How  do translation clients benefit from an ISO 17100 certification?

Consistent, accurate translations are essential for legal translation. When you are looking for a translation provider, it can be challenging to compare the quality of the myriad of translation agencies that all claim to ‘deliver the best’, which is why certification is an essential indicator of true reliability. ISO 17100 is vital in providing the quality assurance you need.

What does ISO 17100 certify?

ISO 17100 is specifically for the translation industry. It sets international standards for quality, outlining requirements for every part of the translation process, including:

  • How core processes are managed
  • The minimum qualifications for each person involved in the translation process
  • What resources are available to translators and how these are managed
  • Standards for data protection and confidentiality

When a translation provider has ISO 17100 certification, it demonstrates that they can meet industry standards, best-practice, and the law, in addition to any specific requirements you may have of them.

What are the benefits of ISO 17100 to lawyers when instructing legal translation services?

Easy to compare and understand

Many freelance translators and other legal translation providers use their own terminology to describe their processes – this can be confusing, particularly if you change provider or use multiple translators. ISO 17100 provides standard terminology and a glossary, allowing you to compare providers that are ISO 17100 compliant like-for-like.

Know that you will be working with trusted and qualified translators

In order to gain ISO 17100 certification, everyone in the translation providers team, from Project Managers to Translators themselves, must meet certain qualification standards. During the certification process, qualifications will be checked and reviewed, so you can be confident you will be working with qualified and experienced team members.

Understanding requirements in advance

The ISO 17100 highlights the importance of early collaboration between client and provider. A certified, high-quality provider will consult with you to fully understand the needs of your project and agree on quality elements in advance.

A rigorous translation process

A ISO 17100 standard translation workflow sets out clear steps that must be followed, including:

  • Translation
  • Revision
  • Review
  • Proofreading
  • Final verification

The translation and revision stages should be completed by different translators, quality is improved as margin for error is reduced.


In order to meet ISO 17100 certification requirements, translation service providers must use a fully traceable system and enable clients’ files to be backed up, archived, and retrieved easily and safely whilst ensuring safety and confidentiality. You can be sure your project will not be lost, but also that translations containing sensitive information will be adequately protected.

Contact IMD Legal Translation –  ISO 17100 certified legal translators

At IMD Legal Translation, we know how important quality and accuracy  is to you, and that can have a huge impact on the outcome of a legal case. We will always deliver accurate, high-quality translations on time. If you have a language need or want to understand more, contact us today.


Associate News is provided by Legal Futures Associates.
Find out about becoming an Associate


Leave a Comment

By clicking Submit you consent to Legal Futures storing your personal data and confirm you have read our Privacy Policy and section 5 of our Terms & Conditions which deals with user-generated content. All comments will be moderated before posting.

Required fields are marked *
Email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Loading animation