ISO Standards Project

Since the mid-70s AIIC has been working side by side with ISO, the International Standardisation Organisation, on the standardisation of interpretation booths; the result: standard 2603 for permanent booths and standard 4043 for mobile booths. This was initially achieved through the help of AFNOR and with the hard work of many volunteers in the Technical and Health Committee.

Time went by and, in ISO, a Technical Committee, number 37, which originally dealt with terminology and other related subjects, created a Scientific Subcommittee (number 5) to deal with Translation, Interpreting and Related Technology. This SC gave ‘birth’ to several child committees (in ISO parlance…): TCG, the Terminology Coordination Group (TCG ); Working Group (WG) 01, dealing with translation; WG 02, dealing with interpreting; and WG 03, dealing with facilities and equipment for interpreting services.

In spring 2011 AIIC was made aware that ISO was working on a standard on ‘Community Interpreting’ (ISO 13611). AIIC colleagues, having studied the relevant documents, came to the conclusion that this project would necessarily have an impact on conference interpreting as it referred to some settings that would normally be ascribed to our activity.

AIIC Germany took up the matter at national level in consultation with AIIC bodies (Council, Bureau and President) and started to take part in the experts’ consultations within the German Standardisation Organisation (DIN), acting as national mirror committee for the ISO projects. This expert work at the national level led to the nomination of AIIC members as experts for the existing ISO working group in charge of translation and interpreting matters.

As ongoing worldwide activities became more and more visible and important, AIIC Germany decided to present a resolution on the launch of an AIIC Project on Standardisation of Conference Interpreting Services to the Buenos Aires Assembly (2012) in order to participate in local, regional and international standardisation activities. This resolution was adopted by the Assembly and the Project started officially under the lead of Klaus Ziegler (Germany) during Ms. Linda Fitchett’s Presidency.

Since April 2014 AIIC has officially held the status of A-liaison-partner of ISO TC 37 SC 5, thus having the possibility to participate with its own experts in the different working groups. It was deemed advisable to have an AIIC representative who would act as liaison between both bodies, a task entrusted to Mr. Benoît Krémer, former president of AIIC.

Since then, with the financial and technical support of the Standards Project, several AIIC members have become part of their respective National Mirror Committees, thus having a strong impact on both national (e.g. Italy, Turkey, Germany) and international standards projects (ISO).

In 2014, ISO TC37 SC5 set up a new working group dealing with “Facilities and equipment for interpretation services”. This new WG held its first official meeting in Berlin (Germany) in June during the Annual Meeting of ISO TC37.

The work of the experts nominated by the ISO member countries and liaison partners (including AIIC) first dealt with the revision of the two existing ISO Standards for interpreting booths (ISO 2603 and ISO 4043).

AIIC has been very active in WG 02 (Convener: Verónica Pérez Guarnieri) and WG 03 (Convener: Marguerite Lely): our members participate in the work of the mirror committees in their NSBs and attend meetings, vote on amendments, approve drafts and, once a year, some of us meet face-to-face in different places around the world in order to discuss the standards under study.