There is a lot happening with ISO standards for interpreting right now!

Client-side organisations in both the private and public sectors are becoming increasingly aware of ISO standards relating to interpreting, and companies providing both spoken and non-spoken interpreting services are coming to ATC Certification to enquire about certification to interpreting standards.

Apart from published ISO standards for interpreting, there are also new standards under development. These standards are developed in international collaboration, with the ATC’s ISO Commenting Group participating actively in the process.

This blog gives you an overview of both the published ISO standards for interpreting services, and the ISO standards under development.


Published ISO Standards for Interpreting Services

The baseline ISO standard for interpreting services is ISO 18841. It is an international standard that establishes basic requirements for the provision of interpreting services including the qualifications and competencies of interpreters, and recommendations of good practice.

Under the umbrella of the 18841 for interpreting, there are two sector-specific standards, ISO 20228 for legal interpreting and ISO 21998 for healthcare interpreting.

ISO 20228 is the international standard that establishes the basic principles and practices of legal interpreting services, including the competency requirements of legal interpreters. The standard also describes various legal settings and provides recommendations for the corresponding interpreting modes. It is applicable to all parties involved in facilitating communication between users of legal services using a spoken or signed language.

ISO 21998 is the international standard for healthcare interpreting services, including requirements and recommendations for both spoken and signed communication. The standard defines a number of required competencies throughout the healthcare domain as well as formal qualifications which interpreters must evidence and keep on file.


Interpreting ISO Standards in Development

To complement the above published ISO standards, there are two interesting ISO standards in development with the ISO’s international process.

ISO 13611 for community interpreting was originally published as a guideline standard in 2014. It has recently started its journey towards a full specifications standard. This means it will go through a thorough review, and once published, it will sit alongside the other sector-specific interpreting standards for certification.

ISO 13611 in its current guidelines format establishes criteria and recommendations for community interpreting during oral and signed communication that enables access to services that people who have limited proficiency in the language of such services.

ISO 23155 for conference interpreting services includes requirements and recommendations for the provision of conference interpreting services. It is primarily addressed to conference interpreting service providers and conference interpreters. It also offers guidance and assistance to users of conference interpreting services.

ISO 23155 is currently in its final draft development stage, with only minor changes expected before its publication.


How to Gain Access to ISO Standards

You can buy ISO Standards from your national standards body, in your local language, or from ISO online store.

Member companies of the ATC have access to the ATC’s ISO Library, which contains copies of all published ISO standards for translation, interpreting, business and quality management. Find out more about joining the ATC here, and remember that ATC member companies also get 20% off from ATC Certification fees!

Get in touch to discuss your certification needs, or to register your interest in certification to one of the upcoming new standards!