There is no easy answer to this in many countries because there are always a number of freelance translators and German translation agencies that do not reveal their credentials or may not have a plethora of certificates as may be found in other professions. Should other countries take Australia’s road for instance and demand that certain translation tasks are only done by translators who have been accredited to the national accreditation body, NAATI, which stands for the National Accreditation Authority of Translators and Interpreters?
One school of thought suggests that just being accredited to a national body doesn’t always guarantee quality. There are a number of experienced translators out there who have established themselves without any formal training and certification yet can still provide an excellent quality German English translation, for instance. Insisting on having some type of qualification, certification or accreditation may mean that these translators are out of a job and clients are deprived of translators who are quite able to do the job very well.
On the other hand, it is often hard for individuals or businesses to decide who to choose when it comes to finding a translator. How can German translation services be assured? This is where all the certificates, qualifications and accreditations come in useful as it cuts down the effort a new potential client has to expand making a decision. Of course, if they have already been using an established translator or translation service that uses experienced yet uncertificated translators and are quite happy with their service then it is hard to see why they shouldn’t be allowed to continue.
Translation services are not quite in the same category as certain trades where uncertified electricians, gas plumbers and builders may end up with a disaster of their own making if they make a mistake because of ignorance or lack of training. It seems right for a country to insist on national standards when it comes to the safety of the community but it also seems realistic to let customers or clients make a choice about who they choose when it comes to services like translation, which after all is unlikely to hurt anybody.
The whole question of quality assurance can be turned around somewhat by making the comment that whoever the translator is, certified or not, they can only do a good job if they are given realistic translation tasks. The client has a role to play in quality assured translation by making sure that the document they provide to the translator is clear and error free of spelling and grammar mistakes, as well as typos. It is not the translator’s job to spend time on proofreading a client’s work and if poorly written text results in a poor translation you can’t really blame the translator, however well qualified they are.