Planet Languages is an ISO-certified language services provider established nearly 30 years ago, in 1994. Their business philosophy then was the same as it is today – to focus on integrity, quality and first-class service. They are firm believers in the value that ISO certification adds to their business and are certified to five ISO standards. They are also long-standing members of the Association of Translation Companies, the EUATC and GALA.
We spoke with Planet Languages’ Operations Director, Antonios Koutsounouris, and asked him about their certification journey with ATCC.
Why did you choose to become ISO certified?
We wanted to give our clients peace of mind. Clients can be nervous about the lack of regulation in the language services industry. Our systems help us to deliver a consistently high-quality service. Becoming ISO certified requires these systems to stand up to the scrutiny of an impartial auditing body. There’s no doubt that being ISO certified has boosted our credibility and reassured our clients.
How did you find the process with ATC Certification?
We have worked with ATC Certification for many years now. They provide a clear explanation of the process and a transparent and competitive quote, with regular follow-ups and professional communication. The office staff are helpful, and the auditors are language industry experts. Scheduling audits is simple, and the arrangements are thorough. There’s also a lot of flexibility with on-site and remote audits.
Why did you choose ATC Certification?
Their language industry expertise is a huge bonus. The auditors have played a key role in developing ISO standards for our industry. With every visit, they add tremendous value to our operations. ATCC also offers certification to industry-specific ISO standards that other certification bodies don’t.
How long did it take you to prepare for certification?
Our journey into the world of ISO standards began with BS EN 15038, the predecessor of ISO 17100. That was over a decade ago now. Although we knew that our processes already exceeded the requirements of the standard, it took us about 3 months to complete the relevant documentation and prepare for certification. Because our BS EN 15038 certification gave us a solid foundation, the transition to ISO 17100 in 2015 went smoothly.
When the ISO 18587 standard arrived on the scene in 2017, we spent a couple of months preparing for certification. When you’re wrangling with definitions and wondering if you’re meeting the requirements, it’s so easy to lose sight of the bigger picture. ISO standards are a blueprint for doing something well! This standard really helped us to shape our machine translation post-editing offering to our clients.
This experience then gave us the confidence to look at other standards. We were particularly interested in boosting our information security and our environmental credentials. We worked with a consultant to help us achieve certification to the ISO 27001 and ISO 14001 standards. Even with their help, it was a big task. Two members of the Planet Languages team worked solidly for weeks on implementing the requirements of the ISO 27001 standard.
Our most recent certificate is for ISO 9001. This had been on our to-do list since we started getting involved with ISO standards. I’m sure many small business owners will agree that preparing for certification to an ISO standard can be daunting. Progress on this standard would stall whenever more pressing matters came up. In 2020, we sharpened our focus, and we achieved certification within a few months.
Auditors are often surprised by the order in which we achieved our ISO certifications. It’s certainly been a roundabout journey. But it’s been well worth it.
Would you recommend becoming certified with ATC Certification to other companies in the language services industry?
Absolutely. It is clear to us that ATCC is determined to uphold the highest standards in the industry and to boost the profile of translation as a profession. On top of that, they are a joy to work with. Things like responsiveness and transparency really matter.