National Standard for Translation Services

Certification for CAN/CGSB-131.10-2008, Translation Services Standard


On May 12, 2009, AILIA launched the latest standards certification program in the world. Firms wishing to set themselves apart can now apply for an audit immediately by contacting Orion Assessment Services of Canada.

AILIA has contracted the services of Orion Assessment Services of Canada, recognized auditors with respect to ISO, CEN, and other standards to conduct audits, to ensure professionalism and complete confidentiality for all applicants. All transactions are held directly with the selected auditing firm to ensure that your information is protected and to guarantee impartiality. Once each audit has been completed, Orion will request that AILIA issue a certificate to firms who have been granted certification under CAN/CGSB-131.10-2008.

Certified companies can use the certification in marketing efforts, both in Canada and abroad. Certification will reassure your clients that your organization, whether small or large, complies with the processes required by the standard. The audit rates are scaled to reflect the amount of sampling required and the size of the applicant organization.

The certification is based on CAN/CGSB-131.10-2008, Translation Services, a national standard developed by the Canadian General Standards Board and approved by the Standards Council of Canada. It involved the participation of representatives from AILIA, professional associations, government, education, clients, and other stakeholders.

Gain Certification

To learn more about the certification (process, rates, and requirements), please contact M. David Huebel, Orion Assessment Services of Canada, at 416-709-8070.  AILIA has negotiated special group rates for members based on quantity and regional coordination efforts.  Members will receive the special rates once Orion has confirmed with AILIA that they are members in good standing.

AILIA certification offers a number of benefits to translation service providers:

  • Quality
  • Improved service performance
  • Credibility
  • Consistency
  • Improved and well-organized workflows
  • Protection to service providers, users, individuals, and the public?
  • Clearer processes and procedures
  • Clarity regarding roles
  • Reliable commercial relationships
  • Added value
  • Unification of terminology in the sector
  • Methodology to ensure customer satisfaction, a system to identify non-compliance
  • Risk management
  • Marketing  – a unique selling proposition

National Standards for Translation Services

The National Standard of Canada, CAN CGSB 131.10-2008 establishes and defines the requirements for the provision of translation services by translation service providers (TSPs). The standard is applicable to organizations as well as individuals providing the translation services described. The standard does not apply to interpreting or terminology services.

The National Standard of Canada is a modified adoption of the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) standardEN 15038 Translation Services. The document was prepared with the intent to harmonize where possible with the provisions of EN 15038 Translation Services. Variances in wording and content with EN 15038 reflect the Canadian perspective.

The technical committee that created the CAN CGSB 131.10 had multiple stakeholder representation from industry, government, academia, professional orders and consumers alike. The committee followed a strict process as established by the Canadian General Standard Board and the Standards Council of Canada.

Conformity assessment and certification based on this standard are already in place.

On the premise that translation service providers are an essential component in assuring the quality of translation, AILIA has established the most advanced translation standard certification in the world. This represents a cornerstone of AILIA’s commitment to create a healthier translation sector in Canada and to position the Canadian industry strategically in the global translation market.

Compliance with the CAN/CGBS-131.08-2008 standard affirms for the client that the provider has passed an independent audit, and thus adheres to the highest level of service. AILIA believes all translation service providers ought to be able to demonstrate proof of competency and recommends that any purchaser of translation services insists on conformity with national standards.

The national standards apply to:

Human Resources
  • Translation service providers are to follow documented procedures when selecting individuals for each project and ensure the competencies and education/experience of all translators, revisers and reviewers.
Technical Competencies
  • Including electronic data storage, archiving and disposal, word processing, computer-assisted translation tools, research tools, safe handling, and familiarity with hardware/software and information sources/media.
Quality Management System
  • Implementation of statement of objectives, handling process for client information/documentation, human resources qualification process, terminology process and databases, quality assurance and follow-up/corrective action.
Client-Service Provider Relationship
  • Documenting procedures for feasibility analysis, quotations, availability of human and technical resources, agreements, invoicing and recording.
  • Identifying the client’s role/responsibilities, source text, target audience, quality assurance, confidentiality, deadlines, deliverables, pricing and terms of payment and termination.
  • Defining terminology, copyright and liability issues, dispute settlement, handling of client’s documentation, special requirements.
Translation Service Provider Project Management Procedures
  • Client requirements, SOWs, project management, assigning of translators/revisers/reviewers and technical resources, monitoring, timetables, updating client.
  • Compliance with client-service provider agreements, maintaining client project-specific log, selecting appropriate personnel as per project requirements.
  • Technical resources / pre-translation processing / linguistic aspects.
Translation Process
  • Relevant references, documents, information regarding source text.
  • Compliance with similar and concurrent projects.
  • End-users / target audience and purpose.
  • Local conventions, regional standards.
  • Syntax, spelling, punctuation, grammar, terminology, lexicology, style, formatting.
  • Specific domain and client terminology.
  • Applicable style guides.
  • Checking, revision, review, and final proofreading.

AILIA’s position is that business process used in the delivery of translation services is an essential component of quality of service, by having access to independently audited suppliers, purchasers of translation services in Canada are better protected. Conformity to an independent certification should form the basis for procurement policy and practices. An important business objective of the Translation Services Standard is to create a level playing field among certified translation service providers, making each responsible for living up to high professional expectations. AILIA’s position is that all those offering translation services in Canada should be able to provide independent proof of their competency in translation service delivery. The Translation Services Standard can act as a baseline for contracting procedures. By focusing on auditing translation service providers, the certification becomes a natural tool for contracting authorities to use when purchasing such services.

Supporting professional certification

Not only do leading Canadian TSPs promote professional certification for their employees and subcontractors, but theCAN/CGSB-131.10-2008, Translation Services standard supports professional certification by listing it as a criterion for certification. AILIA’s position is that a strong Canadian professional body is an essential pillar for a quality Canadian translation sector.


National Standards for Interpretation Services

The AILIA Certification based on the National Standard Guide for Community Interpreting Services (NSGCIS) provide for the highest level of professionalism and reliability on the part of interpretation service providers, thus inspiring confidence among clients that AILIA accreditation represents an assurance of quality.

Published by the Healthcare Interpretation Network (HIN) in 2007, The National Standard Guide for Community Interpreting Services (NSGCIS) was created with the support of Critical Link Canada (CLC), the Language Industry Association (AILIA) and the Association of Canadian Corporations in Translation and Interpretation (ACCTI).

The creation of the standard was guided by joint efforts from many stakeholders, including a committee composed by 24 members representing organizations across Canada from government, academia, professional orders, non-profit and private sector.

Since its publication, the HIN Standards have gained international attention in the U.S., Europe and Asia. A number of professional associations and consortia, including the International Organization for Standardization, are using this document as the foundation for the development of their own standards of practice in Community Interpreting.

In early 2010, AILIA announced a new certification program developed for Interpretation Service Providers (ISPs) under the National Standard Guide for Community Interpreting Services (NSGCIS)

The National Standard Guide specifies the requirements for the provision of quality community interpreting services to ensure reliability in the provision of such services nationwide.

Community interpreting (also known as institutional interpreting) is usually done in the consecutive mode in a dialogue-like interaction. It enables communication between Limited English/French Proficiency speakers (LEP/LFP) and providers of public services such as:

  • Healthcare
  • Government agencies
  • Community centres
  • Legal settings
  • Educational institutions
  • Social services

Interpreters working in this type of setting usually interpret from source to target language and vice-versa.
The Standard Guide applies to Community Interpreting only.

Adopting this Standard Guide at the national level is crucial to achieving professionalization in the field.

Goals of the Standard Guide:

  • Promote the highest quality of interpreting when adopted for assessment, training, hiring, performance monitoring and possible future professional recognition.
  • Provide clear and consistent definitions of the characteristics and competencies of a qualified community interpreter.
  • Educational tool / Common base of understanding among interpreting parties.

What does the National Standard Guide for Community Interpreting Services –NSGCIS- include?

  • Scope
  • Definitions of interpreting terminology
  • Human resources requirements
  1. Interpreter’s Skills and Competencies
  2. Interpreting Competence
  3. Linguistic Competence
  4. Research and Technical Competence
  5. Interpersonal skills
  • Responsibilities of Interpreting Parties
  1. Clients
  2. Interpreting Service Providers-ISP
  3. Roles and Responsibilities of Interpreters
  • Settings
  • Annexes
  1. LITP Standards of Practice and Ethical Principles
  2. Language Classification Working Languages
  3. Professional Associations
  4. Healthcare Interpreting

the NSGCIS ensure:

  • Uniformity in assessment, training, hiring, performance monitoring, and possible professional recognition.
  • Consistent definition of the characteristics and competencies of a qualified interpreter.
  • Improved access to reference and background material.

NSGCIS establish ethical principles for interpreters:

  • Accuracy and fidelity
  • Confidentiality
  • Impartiality
  • Respect for persons
  • Maintenance of role boundaries
  • Accountability
  • Professionalism
  • Continued competence

NSGCIS cover:

  • Definitions of interpreting terminology
  • Human resources requirements
  • Settings
  • Responsibility of clients, interpretation service providers, and interpreters.

The essential skill of the interpreter is the ability to interpret from source to target language. Competencies shall be demonstrated by a post-secondary education, preferably a recognized degree in interpretation, translation, or a related field, the completion of a language proficiency test, and documented experience in the field.

The interpretation service provider is responsible for hiring qualified interpreters, ensuring they understand the context, and have access to documentation and other resources to enable them to perform their function.

The role of the interpreter is to facilitate communication by conveying a message as faithfully as possible between two parties who do not share a common language. He/she is not to elaborate, explain omissions, disclose information between parties, filter communication, react to, or participate in, discussions, adapt the register, intervene as mediator or explain cultural differences.

The client is responsible for providing as much background information as possible on the subject matter. During discussions, they must speak clearly, without jargon or slang, and address the party, never the interpreter, who is to remain unobtrusive.

With the adoption of national standards comes the opportunity to define expectations and assess performance. Clients can be confident that any accredited interpretation service provider will employ professionals who have the qualifications to meet or exceed expectations and will adhere to, and be bound by, the requirements specified in the National Standard Guide for Community Interpreting Services.