From XML via language codes and ontologies to terminology exchange formats – standards play a fundamental (if sometimes little-noted) role in the language industry. Yet, some knowledge about standards is essential for every translator, localization expert, project manager or other expert in the language industry.

But where to start with? The sheer number of different standards-developing organizations and the confusing variety of existing standards scares off many and makes it hard to get an overview.

The Language Technologies Research Center in Canada has published a report on language standards and guidelines as well as the organizations which develop them. Although written in 2007 its information is still valid and a helpful reading for everybody who wants to learn more about existing standards.

Author Kara Warburton is a terminology expert and herself active in standardization for many years.