Translations and soccer do not seem to have a lot in common at first. But when viewed through the perspective of quality management system ISO 9001, they may have some surprising common ground.
With the 2010 World Cup kicking off in just four months in South Africa, soccer fever is starting to rise. Soccer aficionados will be glued to screens in every corner of the world to watch the high-quality drama unfold. In millions of houses spirited debates will ensue about what makes a team, a player or a coach good or bad. In other words: discussions about quality.
ISO 9001 is a system that describes elements of a process that, when followed, increases a company’s chances to deliver a high quality product. Or a service, like translations or soccer.
Just like a translation provider, the World Cup is a business. It delivers a service (soccer) to a client (TV and stadium audience). And just like translations, the quality of its service is the result of a process that results in a certain outcome. An excellent translation of say, an IFU for a home glucose measuring device, will make the user understand the purpose and function of the device. An excellent soccer game may advance a team to the finals.
Let’s take a look at the five main pillars of ISO 9001 certification and how these elements could be applied to translations and soccer.
|Quality system||Company organization||Club or team organization|
|Management responsibility||Quality policy
|Commitment coaching and technical staff
Playing style (offensive, defensive)
Talent and stadium planning
|Resource management||Qualified linguists, engineers, desktop publishers, project managers, other staff
Localization tools and training
|Qualified coaches, skilled players
Transfer market, cultivating young talent through the team’s ranks
|Product realization||Strategy, planning, process of producing translations||Game day. Strategy, planning, process of playing (and winning) a game|
|Measurement, analysis and improvement||Client feedback, internal audits, monitoring of data derived from translation process. Where can we optimize, improve quality?||Where are we in the rankings? How many goals have we scored? How many times do our opponents score on us? How many yellow and red cards do our players get? How often do we have injuries? How is the 4-3-3 system working, how did we do when we played 4-4-2? Where can we get better?|
At the end of the World Cup, when you cheer (or not) for the team that triumphantly hoists the coveted trophy in the air, think about all the things the team did right –on and off the field– to end up with this quality result.