Meeting of the ASTM Committee on Language Services and Products

ASTM F43 / ISO TC37 Meeting

October 26, 2011

Boston, MA


ASTM International Technical Committee F43 on Language Services and Products

 F43 (2)

Established: 2010

Number of members: 90+

Number of standards: 4

The scope of the Committee is the development of standards for language services and products.


F43.01 Language Interpreting

F43.02 Foreign Language Instruction

F43.03 Language Translation

F43.04 Language Testing

F43.90 Executive

F43.95 US TAG to ISO TC232

F43.96 US TAG to ISO TC37

Key documents:

  • F1562 Standard Guide for User-Oriented Foreign Language Instruction
  • F2089 Standard Guide for Language Interpretation Services
  • F2575 Standard Guide for Quality Assurance in Translation
  • F2889 Standard Practice for Assessing Language Proficiency


Meeting of the Subcommittee on Translation

ISO TC37 group working on translation quality standards met in conjunction with the ASTM meeting at the American Translators Association Conference in Boston, MA.

26 countries participating in ISO TC37 SC2 WG6 (SC5 has been created to accommodate WG6). Anticipated publication date of Technical Specification ISO 11669 – Guidance for Translation Projects developed by this group is May 2012. The shelf life of Technical Specification is six years – within this time period in is either converted to a full standard or it is eliminated. ISO 17100 is on track to become a full-fledged international standard.

ASTM F2575-06 Standard Guide for Quality Assurance in Translation: Published in 2006, it is now due for a revision. Suggestion was made to prepare a survey to distribute among the stakeholders soliciting suggestions for modifying the Standard Guide.

Relationship between ISO and ASTM: ASTM standard will be upheld only if it fills a need that is not filled by an ISO (or other) standard. The ASTM committee needs to decide whether to revise the ASTM F2575-06 Standard Guide or let it die and adopt a new ISO standard (growing out of Technical Specification ISO 11669). The group consensus is to maintain and revise ASTM F2575-06 given the fact that the future of Technical Specification ISO 11669 is at this point uncertain. The deadline for the revision of ASTM F2575-06 Standard Guide is 2014.


ANSI TAG 37 Meeting

Proposed title of SC5: Translation, interpreting and localization

Proposed scope: Standardization in the field of translation and interpreting as well as related technology, and translation and interpreting related aspects of technical writing, content management, localization, globalization, and internationalization.

“Interpreting” versus “interpretation” terminology argument: according to terminology experts, “interpretation” is an ambiguous term (“legal interpretation” could mean two different things, depending on whether you are an interpreter or an attorney, for example). The group at the meeting prefers “interpreting”. According to Sue Ellen Wright, those who support “interpretation” come from a Latin language background. In ATA, interpreters prefer the term “interpreting” as well.

“Localization” issue: TC37 has to define “translation” and “localization” first. Twenty years ago, “localization” was closely related to software; in recent years the concept has broadened beyond software.

Existing title of TC37: Terminology and other language content resources

Proposed new title: Terminology and other multilingual language resources

Existing scope of TC37: Standardization of principles, methods and applications relating to terminology and other language and content resources in the contexts of multilingual communication and cultural diversity.

Proposed new scope: Standardization of principles, methods and applications relating to multilingual language resources, such as those required for terminology, lexicology, translation, and natural language processing.


Outstanding issues:

  • Stakeholder representation in SC5
  • Currently: small and medium enterprises and interpreters
  • Missing: significant government participation; large providers; customers