Industry Standards Demystified – Part 3

Published on 05.04.2020

Industry Standards Demystified – Part 3

By Monika Popiolek, ATA TCD Leadership Council and ISO/CEN industry standards expert

ISO/TS 11669:2012 Translation projects — General guidance

Published: 2012 (Ed. 1)

Due for review: 2019 (post-review – under development)

Number of pages: 35

Type of standard: technical specification

Technical Committee responsible: ISO/TC 37/SC 5 Translation, interpreting and related technology WG 1

ISO/TS 11669 provides general guidance for all phases of a translation project. Its main purpose is to facilitate communication among the parties involved in a project. It is intended for use by all stakeholders of the translation project, including those who request translation services, those who provide the services and those who make use of the results of the project — in particular, the translation product. It applies to multiple sectors, including the commercial and government sectors, and non-profit organizations.

It provides a framework for developing structured specifications for translation projects, but does not cover legally binding contracts between parties involved in a translation project. It mentions quality assurance and provides the basis for qualitative assessment, but does not provide procedures for any quantitative measures of the quality of a translation product.

It should be noted that ISO/TS 11669 is not applicable to interpreting services and, as a technical specification that only provides general guidance on translation projects, it is also non-certifiable. It is also important to stress that the terms and definitions used in the document are outdated and not harmonized with the prevailing industry terminology. In spite of the fact that the TS was published in 2012 it is virtually unknown and not used by the industry. This is partly because in 2015 the first major international translation services requirements standard (ISO 17100) was published and quickly implemented worldwide, so there was no real need to ever use this TS. Taking into account the fact that the TS is now under review, it might be developed in the future to become a useful annex to a standard, a guidance standard or withdrawn altogether.


There was also an initial decision made in 2019 to revise ISO/TS 11669:2012 Translation projects — General guidance. The specification was quite rudimentary and any update would require a lot of work and would have to align the future document with all the relevant standards developed to date and industry terminology would need updating. Unfortunately attempts to find a project leader willing to coordinate this work and organize a group of experts to actually do the work have failed so far. If a team of experts cannot be prevailed upon to do the work, this project might have to be terminated.


About the author

Monika Popiolek has an MA in English, an Executive MBA and is a graduate of a PhD Management Programme. She has been a specialist translator and interpreter for over thirty years and is also a authorised certified legal translator, CEO of MAart Agency Ltd. since 1991, President of the Polish Association of Translation Companies (PSBT) since 2009, Head of National Delegation and Chair of the ISO TC 37 Mirror Committee at PKN, OASIS, ISO and CEN expert (since 2007) as well as and the EUATC Liaison Rep. to ISO TC 37, member of ATA, TEPIS, SAAMBA, and many other organisations. She is the author of many publications, member of the editorial board of the JIAL journal (John Benjamins Publishing Company) and has presented at more than 25 leading international conferences. Her research specializations are: quality management, translation quality assurance, specialist translation and standards (e.g.  ISO 17100, ISO 9001, ISO 9004, ISO/IEC 82079-1, ISO 27001, ISO 20771, EFQM, TQM). She was one of the editors for the ISO 17100 (Translation services – Requirements), Project Leader for two ISO standards (ISO 20771 and ISO 21999), and is the manager of the ISO TC 37 LinkedIn Industry Standards Group.