As the mouthpiece of the translation industry, the Qualitätssprachendienste Deutschlands e.V. (German association of quality language services), known in short as QSD, is nationally and internationally employed in promoting improved communication and recognition of the sector.
As a contact for those ordering language services, the association helps in providing orientation amidst a jungle of offers. All members are translation service providers either certified according to ISO 17100 or operating in line with the quality assurance systems of this standard, who together are committed to improved professionalism in the translation industry.
Ms Heike Leinhäuser*, President of Qualitätssprachendienste Deutschlands e.V., shares her experiences in association work and gives a little insight into the successes and objectives of the organisation.
Motivation for founding the association as the first one of its kind
On behalf of the European Union of Associations of Translation Companies (EUATC), the main initiator and founding father Enrique López-Ebri established QSD in 1998. This meant that German translation companies, which were ultimately fighting to achieve a positive image at a European level too, were now officially represented on a national level as well. For Ms Leinhäuser, who has been active in the association right from the beginning, “The aim was to move away from the term ‘translation agency’ and the assumption that translation service providers do not deliver any added value, but only buy and sell translations. We must achieve a differentiation between translation agencies and integrated translation companies that conduct themselves according to particular quality principles.”
The meaning of quality in translation
“Quality means understanding what the customer needs – and doing it,” says Leinhäuser. The term ‘quality’ therefore goes far beyond the quality of the end product, in this case specialist translations, and applies to the entire service provided. That means thinking, “What does the customer want. How can we make him happy? The key is a well-functioning quality management system that enables a cooperative partnership, with the objective of achieving an optimal translation result. This also means understanding and being able to provide different levels of quality. Is speed more important than time-consuming refinement of a text?” To professionally enshrine thoughts of quality in the translation industry, QSD is part of the committee involved with DIN standards for translation services (ISO 17100) and was significantly involved in the emergence of the existing standard.
Correctly assigning translation orders
“The total package is what counts!” That is the advice that Leinhäuser gives companies that want to commission translation services. It is important to pay attention to which area or service the company specialises in and whether this fits with your own translation needs. “Translation companies who are members of QSD can rely without hesitation on well thought out quality management, adhering to your requirements when handling your translation orders. Another crucial question, however, is ‘Is the chemistry right?’” Six more tips on looking for and choosing a language service provider can be found here.
Congratulations, QSD! Finally, as a member, EVS Translations wishes the association all the best on its 20th anniversary and great success in its mission to professionalise the translation industry and further develop the common quality standard. To the next 20 years!
For questions about ‘quality in translations’ and impartial advice on selecting a suitable translation company for your translation project, please contact Ms Heike Leinhäuser at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do also read our white paper on ‘What is quality in translation?’, with a focus on the pharmaceutical and medical sectors. Request your free copy here.
*Heike Leinhäuser has a degree in translation, is co-founder and has been the managing director / owner of the international text agency Leinhäuser Language Services GmbH in Munich for over 20 years. She previously worked as a translator and project manager for seven years at Siemens Language Services Munich. Since 2007, she has been president of QSD e. V. and since October 2018 president-elect of the EUATC.