Controversial Dutch Language RFP Begins; USD 40m Translation Contract Up for Grabs

Minister of Justice and Security Ferdinand Grapperhaus Translation and Interpreting Contract

The controversial language services tender managed by the Dutch Ministry of Justice has started to see the light of day with the publication of at least one announcement for translation services on May 11, 2021.

Worth an estimated EUR 32.98m (USD 40m), the contract is slated for two years plus “the period before implementation” (pegged at five months), and may be extended for another two, maximum. Proposals must be submitted in Dutch by July 23, 2021.

Slator first began covering this Dutch Justice Ministry tender, comprising some 20 translation and interpretation contracts, a year ago. Originally scheduled to begin in October 2020, according to a source at the Ministry’s Legal Aid Board (RvR), the tender process was pushed back to 2021.

More recently, another source close to the matter told Slator that the Justice Ministry had begun to contact translators and interpreters before the new year for assignments with the National Police (for phone interpretation), RvR, Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers, Immigration Service, and several government agencies.

The EUR 32.98m Justice Ministry translation contract covers written translations plus the so-called “value-added services” of editing and the transcription of sound clips. The contract also includes “the recruitment, selection, and training of translators” so they can be included in the Register of Sworn Interpreters and Translators (Rbtv). In other words, any translator given an assignment under the contract must be a sworn translator.

Moreover, translators hired by the chosen language service providers (LSPs) “must have a good command of Dutch, both spoken and written,” regardless of target language (possible languages available through this link; clicking downloads a spreadsheet).

LSPs should also provide, among other things, support facilities, such as a help desk (reachable via phone or email) and an IT facility that communicates via API with the IT facility of the Judiciary. The tender does include interpretation services.

“The national government wants to be a reliable client for interpreters, translators, and their intermediaries” — Dutch Ministry of Justice RFP document

According to a 34-page RFP document seen by Slator, the Justice Ministry’s goal is to award one contract per lot to one LSP. The contract is geographically divided into four lots.

  • Lot 1 – Netherlands North (Amsterdam, North Holland, North Netherlands)
    Start date is September 9, 2021. Historically, the lot involves some 6,200 translation assignments and approximately 8.5 million words annually. Estimated contract value is EUR 1.42m yearly.
  • Lot 2 – Netherlands Central Southeast (East Netherlands, Central Netherlands, Limburg, East Brabant)
    Start date, October 9, 2021. Lot 2 involves about 9,500 translation assignments and 10.46 million words yearly. Estimated contract value, EUR 1.22m annually.
  • Lot 3 – Netherlands Southwest (Zeeland-West-Brabant, Rotterdam, The Hague)
    Start date, November 9, 2021. Lot 3 covers approximately 4,490 translation assignments and over six million words annually. Estimated value, EUR 1m yearly.
  • Lot 4 – Judiciary and national offices of the Public Prosecutor’s Office, National Criminal Investigation Department, etc.
    Start date, December 9, 2021. Lot 4 comprises some 7,070 translation assignments and about 11.88 million words yearly, based on historical data. Estimated value, EUR 1.84m annually.

The Dutch Justice Ministry estimates the annual size of the contract, based on all four lots, to be EUR 5.5m or EUR 22m for the duration of the contract, including extension. The same RFP document shows the contract value of EUR 32.98m to be “set at 150% of the estimated size for all lots,” including extension.