EUATC and Standards: a long-standing relationship
Translation is a flourishing industry with on-going signs of growth every year. Market development in any industry has led to diverse quality standards. Perhaps the term quality is very eroded these days due to its lack of definition to the point that even standardization bodies start thinking of procedure management standards rather than quality management standards. This idea reflects the weight that procedures have in a corporate organization to achieve its goals. Quality is very difficult to measure, as not always is it possible to do it due to the lack of objective references, let alone in translation industry. For this reason, we should understand translation in a two-folded meaning: translation process and translation product. The former sets out the different procedures in place to produce the latter. That translation process is measurable in some way; the translation product is much more difficult.
EUATC as the initiator of standards in translation industry
Since 29th May 1999 EUATC had kept its own Quality Standard for Translation Companies, which was a code of conduct in itself and stated how to proceed to deliver an appropriate translation service. Translation companies of each national association must commit to the guidelines of this document. EUATC considered that this internal standard could be the embryo of a future European translation quality standard, so it proposed the European Committee for Standardization (CEN,http://www.cen.eu) to create a new standard for translation quality, which was immediately accepted. CEN and EUATC summoned all European players in translation industry to a kick-off meeting in Brussels in 2000, as this standard should represent the view that quality standards for the translation industry can be adequately defined only by the translation industry itself based on practical experience and the current discussion in translation studies as to translation quality.
Though this standard was initially planned for translation companies, EUATC proposed in that kick-off meeting to write a standard valid for any parties and that is why FIT, ALC, ATA and other entities were invited to cooperate as observers during the whole processes. In fact, all these associations played that role and were fully represented within the national mirror committees creating the standard.