ISO 17100 Translation

In 2022, Atenao (ranked within the top 20 language service providers in France) obtained ISO 17100 certification for translation services. This international quality standard, a symbol of excellence in translation, has become an invaluable tool for Atenao as we remain dedicated to enhancing the quality of our linguistic services.

The ISO 17100 certification was granted to Atenao’s flagship hub in Aix-en-Provence, France, where we translate over 30 million words annually.

This certification has allowed us to refine our range of translation services further. We’ve introduced level 2 translation to complement our existing 100% human-driven level 3 translations. Level 2 translation involves assigning a text to a professional translator or a team of translators, followed by a meticulous proofreading and correction phase performed by another skilled linguist.

Here are the key stages of ISO 17100 translation:

The initial stages of level 2 translation are the same as those of a level 3 translation. This process is then followed by revision, proofreading and correction by another professional translator.

  1. The project manager analyses the elements to be translated and the associated file formats. They then evaluate the word count and process the files in a Computer Aided Translation tool, unless the format or the nature of the project mean that this step is not appropriate. They also leverage the relevant translation memories and glossaries, advise the client on how best to proceed to optimise the budget and/or timing, and finally draw up an estimation for the project.
  2. We always select a professional translator (or team of professionals) who is a native speaker of the target language and who has extensive and relevant experience in the subject matter of the document. Our regular clients tend to have a dedicated translator per language. If the first translator is ever unavailable, two other experts, who are also familiar with the client’s terminology, are on hand to take over. By working in this way, we can ensure long-term consistency and accuracy in our translations.
  3. Translation in the most appropriate Computer Aided Translation If the file format is not conducive to CAT, the texts are translated directly in a copy of the source document, using the original software.
  4. Revision and fine-tuning: once the translation has been completed, the translator makes any necessary corrections to improve the quality of their work. This could involve revising the wording, organising the text differently, ensuring the correct vocabulary is used and adjusting terminology.
  5. Checking for consistency: the translator ensures that the translation remains consistent throughout the text, respecting the client’s terminology and style standards. Terminology management tools are also used to ensure the consistent use of key vocabulary.
  6. Proofreading and review: Level 3 translation stops at stage 5, however, in the context of a level 2 translation, the first translator’s finalised version is completely revised by another translator or linguist. This involves terminology, spelling, grammar, syntax and typography checks. This is the finishing touch to an ISO 17100, or level 2, translation.

The strengths of an ISO 17100 translation by Atenao:

  • Accuracy: a professional level 2 translation leaves nothing to chance. Its high degree of precision is difficult to improve on. The contribution of a second linguist means that an ISO 17100 translation avoids the possibility of errors being made.
  • 100% human-driven: a level 2 professional translation is guaranteed to be carried out without the use of automatic or machine translation.
  • Double verification: a level 2 translation guarantees that your project will be translated and revised by at least 2 native linguists, rigorously selected by our in-house team.
  • Confidentiality: Unlike traditional machine translation tools which, apart from in their premium versions, retain and use your translation data, our level 2 professional translation service ensures that your files are processed in complete confidentiality. Atenao has also drawn up a non-disclosure agreement with its translators which covers all documents entrusted to them. As a result, any files that you send to us are always treated in the strictest confidentiality.

What kind of documents require an ISO17100 translation?

  • Projects with a medium to long lifespan, including publications, and manuals for complex or highly technical medical, industrial or scientific equipment.
  • Texts which have been crafted for careful reading, and for which a full and detailed understanding is expected.
  • High-end projects which would not allow for any residual errors in spelling, grammar, syntax or typography.
  • Extremely high-end and specialised projects: often in this case, the cost and impact of a mistranslation would be considerably higher than that initially paid to produce the translation.
  • Projects with an elegant and precise writing style that needs to be replicated in the target language.
  • Translations subject to certification (CE marking for example), such as instructions for the use of products covered by one or more European regulatory texts (orders or regulations). These texts are generally quite simple and temptation to process them in 100% human translation or even in post-editing is high. In these cases, using ISO17100 translation does not add much to the quality, but provides a guarantee of a rather legal nature, in the event of an accident linked to poor reading or understanding of the translated instructions.

Turnaround time

A professional translator has the capacity to take on around 2000 words per day, in the context of a level 3 translation. And although some linguists may be able to handle up to 3000 words per day, going over this limit whilst respecting translation quality guidelines is practically impossible. Because of this constraint, when a deadline is particularly tight, Atenao can choose to split the text for translation. This means that a team of several translators shares the workload. However, when more than three linguists are called for, another process is put into place, requiring a project platform and a standardisation stage in the translation process, to harmonise the different contributions. The disadvantage of this workflow model is that the complexity, and therefore the associated costs, increase.

This translation level should be avoided in the following cases:

  • When the text does not need to be proofread by another professional translator, meaning that a level 3 translation would suffice.
  • If the texts are particularly long, the deadline is very tight, or if the translation just needs to be easily understood, meaning that a level 4 translation may be more appropriate.
  • When the text to be translated has been designed to elicit a certain response in the reader: (engagement, emotional impact, brand awareness, image perception, commitment and loyalty, change in behaviour or attitude, purchase, etc.). This would be the case, for example, for marketing and communication translations, which call for transcreation (or level 1 translation).

Why should you trust your language service provider with your level 2 translations?

  • Firstly, Atenao’s solid expertise in the field means that the Agency can give you sound advice on the level of translation best suited to your project, and provide the resources to bring the project to fruition.
  • Secondly, by choosing to work with an agency which clearly distinguishes the different categories of translation, you can rest assured that none of the stages of your level 2 translation will involve machine translation.
  • Given their privileged relationship with Atenao, and the high volume of translations they carry out for the agency, the same translator will be assigned to your level 2 translation projects as a matter of priority. The same translator will also be able to work on your level 3 and level 4 translation projects when deemed necessary or preferable.

Refer to our Official Certificate of Conformity