Wednesday, May 19, 2010

UPDATE: Driving the definition of standards for language proficiency tests

I didn't plan it this way, but a year ago today I blogged about our efforts to work within ASTM International to set standards for language proficiency tests. Yesterday, the foreign language proficiency sub-committee we organized met to make what we think are the final revisions to the draft standards document. It will meet next month to review that final version and with luck, voting members of the ASTM will act on the final ballot soon after.

We are proud of the progress the sub-committee has made in less than two years. By comparison, ASTM standards for interpreting took around five years and those for translation took about four.

And we have another reason to be pleased. As a result of our work, the ASTM is establishing a new permanent committee, the Technical Committee on Language Services and Products to oversee all things related to language. This is no trivial accomplishment.

Language industry standards will no longer fall under consumer products such as bathtub and shower structures, baby strollers and bean bag chairs. The Technical Committee will assume responsibility for the existing sub-committees that deal with language proficiency testing, translations services and language interpreting, and will be the umbrella committee for any future language-related sub-committees.

When the standards are final and have been published, we will post a link to the document(s) here.

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