Now that my compatriots Kathleen Diamond, Bill Rivers, Susan Amarino et al have raised their glasses and toasted the official promulgation of our Standard Practice, we can take a moment to ask: What’s next?
Within ASTM I expect our subcommittee will focus on two of the largest verticals in the Language Service universe: Translation and Interpreting. Each of these will require a new Standard Practice.
“What is a Standard Practice?” you may be asking yourself. Briefly, a Standard Practice, as opposed to a Standard Guide, stipulates requirements that must be met in order to conform to the standard. A Guide, such as the extant translation Standard Guide F2575-14, is a less stringent protocol suggesting best practices. Only a Standard Practice can become the basis for certification by a third party.
Interestingly enough, this issue of Practice vs. Guide is arising in other subcommittees of the ASTM, such as F43.03. F43.03 is designated as the subcommittee for “Language Translation.” Our own subcommittee is F3.05, designated as the subcommittee for “Language Service Companies.” There is some sentiment within F43.03 that they should create a Standard Practice, which (in my opinion) would undercut our own efforts in F43.05. A similar rationale applies to the interpreting subcommittee, F43.01.
Without delving too deeply into the internal processes of the subcommittees, suffice it to say that there is some ambiguity in the responsibilities of the respective subcommittees.
Ideally (again, in my opinion), the other subcommittees should be focused on creating Standard Guides which describe best practices for their areas of expertise. The F43.05 subcommittee, by contrast, needs to create Standard Practice documents that will establish certification criteria.
Having laid out the rationale in the somewhat arcane language of the ASTM, what should go into a Standard Practice for, say, translation? That is the question. And in my next note I’ll address some of our current thinking.
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