Demystifying ISO 18841:2018

Video Interpreter

Demystifying ISO 18841:2018

During your search for a reliable language services provider, you may wonder if finding an ISO 18841:2018-compliant interpreting service is critical. While interpreting service providers aren’t legally required to follow ISO 18841, those that do are holding themselves to a higher standard. As a result, they may be better prepared to offer the high-quality interpreting experience you need.

If you’re wondering what ISO 18841 covers and why it matters, here’s what you need to know about ISO standards and ISO 18841:2018.

What Is an ISO Standard? How Do the Standards Impact Interpretation and Translation Services?

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) creates standards that serve as frameworks for international business and transactions. While some ISO standards are general, impacting a range of industries, others focus explicitly on specific sectors.

ISO standards are essentially operational guidelines and best practices for companies. The standards ensure quality results for interpretation and translation services by setting knowledge, training, and educational minimums for those working in the field. Additionally, the standards address key issues like confidentiality and privacy, providing language services providers with guidance regarding proper and ethical action.

For more information, please see ISO for Interpretation and Translation Services – What It Is and Why It Matters.

Understanding ISO 18841:2018 Interpreting Services

ISO 18841:2018 covers general requirements and recommendations for interpreting services. The standard covers both spoken and signed communication, providing guidance regarding the delivery of services and ensuring a high-quality result.

Generally speaking, ISO 18841 is considered an umbrella standard. It’s designed to broadly apply to interpreting services of all kinds, including general interpretation and specialized types such as medical and legal interpreting. However, it doesn’t cover the nuances of some of these specialized forms of interpreting. Those details are addressed in other ISO standards, such as ISO 21998:2020 and ISO 20228:2019.

ISO 18841 begins by defining various key terms used within the industry, such as consecutive interpreting, simultaneous interpreting, sight translation, communicative setting, and more. These definitions help those in the industry to represent various services in a consistent manner, eliminating potential points of confusion between language service providers and services described to the public.

This ISO standard covers two main points: basic requirements and best practices. The goal is to outline appropriate approaches for a range of scenarios, including in-person, over-the-phone, and video remote interpreting for a variety of purposes.

Along with core principles, ISO 18841 includes details about codes of conduct, ensuring that all interpreters act in an ethical manner. The reason for those best practices is that interpreters are typically privy to private information. Other participants in the conversation may share sensitive details, and interpreters need to act in an appropriate manner when that occurs.

ISO 18841 also discusses interpreter qualifications and competencies. These tenets aim to ensure that everyone providing interpretation services is suitably trained and capable, both when it comes to points like fluency and in regard to interpretation processes.

There are also guidelines regarding continuous education and training. Those are meant to ensure that those providing interpretations maintain high standards by furthering their capabilities and refreshing relevant knowledge on a regular basis.

However, that isn’t all that ISO 18841 covers. Along with settings and specializations, the standard contains guidelines for accepting and managing interpreting assignments and work conditions. Additionally, there is information regarding the impact and management of vicarious trauma.

Why ISO 18841 Compliance Matters

When a language services company is ISO 18841 compliant or certified, it follows best practices and processes specifically designed to ensure high-quality results. ISO 18841 is the most general set of guidelines for interpreting services providers, covering key points like training and competency minimums, codes of conduct, and experience management.

By following ISO 18841, a language services provider is aligning their operation with proven approaches that enhance the customer experience. When you choose an ISO compliant or certified company, you’re increasing your chances of getting the highest quality results, ensuring your interpreting needs are fully met.

Do You Need Reliable Interpreters or Other Language Services?

Many companies have a distinct need for high-quality, dependable language services. By selecting a language services provider that follows ISO standards, you can rest assured that you’re getting the quality experience you need.

If you are looking for a professional interpreter, Acutrans can help. Acutrans offers top-quality interpretation services, including on-site, over-the-phone, and video remote solutions, as well as specialty services like medical and legal interpretation. Additionally, Acutrans can provide certified document translations within 24 hours.

Whether you need interpretation services or document translations, the Acutrans team can provide a quick, reliable, and professional solution. Contact us for a free quote today.