Inttranews: Can you briefly
JJAD: I Arevalillo studied
English Philology at the Universidad Complutense
in Madrid and received my degree in 1985. After
that, I took a two-year master’s degree in
Specialised Translation at the Institute of Modern
Languages and Translators at the same university.
In 1985, I also started to work at Digital Equipment
Corporation (DEC) — now Hewlett-Packard and
formerly Compaq — as a technical editor and
user information specialist. In 1991, I founded
Hermes Traducciones, a translation and localisation
company located in Madrid. At present I am also
a lecturer at the Alfonso X el Sabio University
in Madrid, and preparing my doctoral thesis on localisation
Inttranews: When did you start your professional
JJAD: At the same time I was translating
Latin, Greek and Old Saxon texts at university,
I started to work at DEC as a linguist. At that
time, it was very unusual for a linguist to work
in such a technical environment, so I was very lucky
to supplement my theoretical knowledge with field
experience, which opened my mind to the new world
of computing and how the computers could make translators’
and linguists’ lives easier. The next step
was to start to work as a freelance translator (sometimes
overnight…). When I left DEC, I set up Hermes
Traducciones, and up until now…
Inttranews: How did you first get involved
in quality assurance?
JJAD: When Hermes Traducciones started to
operate, I had to play the role of a translator,
reviewer, controller, managing director, etc. From
the very beginning, it was clear to me that every
word translated had to be reviewed by a person different
from the translator, so we organized cross-review
among all the people at the office. But when we
started to grow, we needed a more organized system
to spot and control the unavoidable and potential
translation mistakes, so we trained all our translators
on review and correction, which was the cornerstone
of our company. At that time, I attended a number
of seminars and courses on linguistic correctness,
review and correction. At the same time, the Spanish
Ministry of Education and Universities chose me
as an external consultant of the II University Quality
Plan, for which I received an intensive training
on quality processes and standards before auditing
some university translation programs as a professional
All this strengthened my quality profile and helped
me set a thorough, extensive quality system at Hermes
Traducciones. Finally, the Spanish Association of
Translation Companies (ACT) named me as its representative
in the Spanish and International Committee for the
Quality Standard for Translation Services.
Inttranews: Is your company certified?
JJAD: No, it is not for the time being. We
were in the ISO-9000 process, but I decided to stop
it until the new EN15038 standard is ready for certification.
The main reason was that after talking and negotiating
with a pair of specialised certification companies,
I realized that they did not have any idea about
how the translation process worked… and I
did not want to spend a considerable amount of Euros
on teaching them… Even they did not know
that the new EN15038 standard was in progress!!!
Needless to say that Hermes Traducciones procedures
are fully compatible with the future standard, which
will cover the whole service, and not only the management
process as in the ISO service standards, and we
are just waiting for 2006, in which this European
standard is supposed to be ready for certification.
Inttranews: You are the current Chair for
the Spanish Association of Translation Companies.
What is the purpose of the Association?
JJAD: The Agrupación de Centros
especializados en Traducción (ACT) was
founded in 1990, its main goal being establish common
criteria for the regulation of the translation industry
in Spain, improve the relationship with freelance
translators and gain more visibility for the translation
profession with customers. Now, in 2005 we are on
the way to reach 60 member companies.
During my chair, the ACT will try to make the translation
profession more visible within Spanish society and
increase our presence at universities, as we consider
that universities and translation companies are
bound to cooperate to reach a higher recognition
of our profession.
The Association looks after the interests of quality-oriented
customers. That is why the ACT's goal aims at uniting
professional translation companies that are able
to deliver an end-to-end, trustworthy and quality
translation service. As a reference, the ACT membership
requirements demand a quality process set up in
those companies, either ISO-certified or not, and
a value-added translation service delivery, so that
our members can be differentiated from those translation
agencies which are mere mediators between customers
Inttranews: Is it part of any larger organisation?
JJAD: Yes. It belongs to the European Union
of Associations of Translation Companies (EUATC).
The EUATC was founded in 1994 and the ACT was one
of the members, and is the unique international
organisation of its kind in Europe. The common feature
among all EUATC members is providing quality-oriented
translation companies. In fact, the EUATC has an
internal quality process, which was the seed for
the future European Quality Standard for Translation
Inttranews: You head the Spanish Committee
working on the draft EN-15038 European Quality Standard
for Translation Services. When was the standard
JJAD: The EUATC member companies used an
internal quality procedure, which was the embryo
for the future standard. In fact, the EUATC requested
the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN)
to create a quality standard for translation services
aimed at translation companies. In 2001, the first
meeting was held and it was approved to write a
standard covering the translation services provided
by both translation companies and freelance translators,
so that all parties could be present. After that,
the different national standardisation bodies set
up their mirror technical committees, in which all
parties dealing with translation were represented:
translation companies, freelance translators, translator
associations, universities, customer associations,
etc. The Spanish standardisation body, AENOR, was
chosen for the Secretariat of the European Committee,
which unified all the national committees, and after
four years of intensive meetings and debates, the
draft passed the public survey, and at this moment
is at the editorial phase, very close to its end:
the formal vote by the national standardisation
Inttranews: When is it scheduled for publication?
JJAD: If everything goes right in the formal
vote, where no surprises should happen, the standard
will be published in mid-2006 approximately, and
it will be ready for certification at that very
Inttranews: Briefly if possible, can you
describe the scope of application the EN-15038 European
Quality Standard for Translation Services? i.e.
what does it cover in the translation process?
JJAD: The standard is designed to cover the
whole process from the moment when a translation
service provider, either a translation company or
an individual translator, receives a translation
for quotation until it is delivered to the end customer.
I should like to point out what I consider to be
the core of this standard: the revise and review
phase, in which the translation is reviewed by a
translator or reviewer other than the original translator.
The standard has several chapters, in which the
following areas are covered:
- Terms and definitions: it covers the terminology
used in the standard itself, which will help
unify the diverse terms used for the same thing
in different translation environments.
- Basic requirements: human resources, professional
competencies, professional development, technical
resources, quality management and project management.
- Relationship between customer and translation
service provider: project feasibility, quotations,
contracts, handling of information, etc. This
is very important as it can help improve the
relationship, sometimes obscure, between companies
and translators, as the customer can be another
translation service provider, obviously.
- Procedures in translation services: administrative,
technical and linguistic aspects, the translation
process itself, project management, revision,
review, proof-reading and final verification.
- Added value services: all those services
related to translation, such as localisation,
rewriting, updating, DTP, subtitling, etc.
- Informative annexes: they are not subject
to the standard itself, but contain information
and recommendations for project registration
details, pre-translation processing, source
text analysis, style guides and list of added
Inttranews: What is the difference between
EN-15038 and a quality management standard such
as ISO 9001?
JJAD: Mainly the fact that an ISO 9001 standard
covers the quality of a project management, whereas
this translation standard will cover the quality
of the whole service itself, not only its management.
ISO 9001 standards can have a more general scope,
so there is plenty of room to fill with procedures.
Industry-specific standards are created by the agents
in that particular industry, and that room is already
filled with those specific procedures.
In any case, the ISO felt interested in the European
Standard, and very possibly it will be used as a
bridge for a future ISO standard.
Inttranews: Can you explain the difference
between quality management and quality assurance?
JJAD: If we consider quality as the extent
to which a set of inherent characteristics complies
with a series of requirements, we could say that
quality management is a series of coordinated activities
aimed at managing and controlling an organisation
as far as quality is concerned. Hence, we can state
that quality assurance is a part of the quality
management aimed at giving confidence that the quality
requirements are met.
Inttranews: If and when certification under
European Quality Standard for Translation Services
becomes possible, who will act as the certifying
JJAD: Once the European Quality Standard
is published, it will be ready for certification.
That certification will be assumed primarily by
the local standardisation bodies (the second-party
certification). But, in the same way as the ISO
standards, other agencies or companies can be enabled
by those standardisation bodies to certify a company
under the European Standard (the third-party certification).
Inttranews: Can freelancers apply the process?
JJAD: Yes, absolutely. In fact, in the standard
the term translation service provider (TSP)
is used for both translation companies and freelance
translators, so that it is open for anybody at any
Inttranews: Will freelancers be eligible
JJAD: Why not? There are many translators
who work as a virtual network in which they exchange
projects and share resources, in which case they
could be certified if they consider it as necessary
or their customers tell them so. If you are a freelance
translator working in your own, it may not be necessary,
as some of the processes involve different persons,
so it could be nonsense.
Inttranews: How do you see the translation
market evolving in the future?
JJAD: If you had made me this question two
weeks ago, my answer could have been very different,
but at this moment of first-grade mergers and acquisitions,
we will have to wait and see, as they could be more
movement in the industry… I have been telling
my university students for several years that the
trend was towards synergy and integration between
companies and software, and my thoughts have come
true. I don’t discard more alliances in an
attempt to compete against the new powers.
In Spain, the case is different as it can be seen
in the first survey of the Spanish translation industry
published by the ACT. The Spanish market is facing
a period of fierce competition with low prices,
in many cases in the detriment of quality, mainly
due, in my opinion, to the number of Translation
graduates, which is growing every year.
Inttranews: What sites do you recommend
readers should visit?
JJAD: There are so many sites that I could
recommend that it is a bit risky for me to choose
only some, but let’s go with the ones I most
Submit your article!
Read more articles - free!
Read sense of life articles!
this article to your colleague!
more translation jobs? Click here!
agencies are welcome to register here - Free!
translators are welcome to register here - Free!
Please see some ads as well as other content from TranslationDirectory.com: