It is a characteristic feature of standards in general, and of ISO Standards in particular, that they exactly define the terms that they use. Often ISO projects start with achieving consensus on the relevant terms and their exact meaning. However, in ISO 26000 this does not apply to all the terms used; therefore, the following explanations are offered, for your information. The terms dealt with are listed in alphabetical order.


Translation guidance
Related terms, Advice, direction, recommendation, proposal

Source: The Compact English Oxford Dictionary: guidance noun
1 advice or information aimed at resolving a problem or difficulty.
2 the directing of the motion or position of something.

In essence:

  • A guidance document offers advice that one can accept or not, in part or as a whole; it is one’s own decision to accept and apply or use the advice


Translation guideline
Related terms, rule, principle, advice

Source: The Compact Oxford English Dictionary says on guideline noun
a general rule, principle, or piece of advice.

A guideline describes a line to follow, without options and so it is more binding than a guidance document. ISO has been wise in developing the ISO 26000 as guidance, not guideline.


Translation impact
Related terms, effect, impression, influence, hit, consequence

The Oxford dictionary says: noun /impakt/
1 the action of one object coming forcibly into contact with another.
2 a marked effect or influence.

The Latin origin can easily be seen: pax is peace, im- is the negating pre-syllable; impactus, -a, -um means un-peaceful. That’s why this term is primarily understood as the burst of a projectile, and only secondly in its more neutral meaning of effect. Languages without Latin basis don’t know the term and need to use their own terms when translating; for example German does not know any Impakt and therefore mostly the term effect is used. But at international level the term impact seems to have become a widely used buzzword; possibly because of its push-like clarity: CD1 of ISO 26000 uses impact as noun and verb more than 110 times!

But for the ISO 26000, dealing with social matters and responsibility, it doesn’t seem appropriate using a term with a primary un-peaceful connotation, particularly as more neutral terms exist.

Recommendation: to replace impact by effect wherever possible.


Translation issue
Related terms, Item, subject, topic

Source: The Compact Oxford English Dictionary issue
noun 1 an important topic for debate or resolution.

In essence: Mostly the term is used to describe something that requires an action. In the context of the guidance document, an ‘issue’ is an aspect of social responsibility that an organization may need to address.


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