The French Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons (Office français de protection des réfugiés et apatrides or Ofpra) is now accepting applications for an interpreting contract worth up to EUR 42m (USD 43m). Deadline for submissions is August 29, 2022.
According to the RFP, interpreting services are needed during hearings for asylum-seekers and stateless persons, which generally take place at the Ofpra’s Fontenay-sous-Bois headquarters. In certain cases, however, the hearings may be held at other locations in France or abroad, or via video-conferencing.
The 12-month contract may be renewed up to three times, for a total possible term of four years.
The Ofpra estimates the contract to cover at least 9,010 — and possibly up to a maximum of 239,700 — half-days of interpreting services annually. Written translation, on the other hand, accounts for less than 1% of the contract value.
The contract is divided into lots — in this case, 15 of them, including one lot exclusively for sign languages. Candidates may apply for one, several, or all lots; or they can apply jointly with partners and specify which lot(s) each candidate would handle.
Price will account for 50% of a candidate’s evaluation, the RFP stated, with the values placed on interpreting services (90%) versus translation (10%) reflecting the Ofpra’s needs.
“Personnel,” a category that covers linguistic competence and professional availability, accounts for 40%, while the candidate’s “organization,” in terms of recruiting, training, and managing interpreters (including continuing education) makes up the last 10%.
Aside from the lot for sign languages, each lot covers languages based on the country or region of origin (e.g., Caribbean and Latin America).
The three lots with the highest anticipated volumes for half-days of interpreting services are those covering languages of the Near or Middle East and Saharan Africa (1,100–29,200 half-days); Iran and Central Asia (1,400–34,000 half-days); and West Africa (1,300–35,000 half-days).
Between 2018 and 2021, demand for interpreting between French and certain languages, notably English, Bengali, Comorian, Dari, Urdu, Turkish, and Russian, rocketed significantly.
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In 2021, Pashto interpreters were booked for the most half-days (5,112) compared to the next most-requested languages (Bengali, 3,915; Dari, 3,516; and Russian, 3,303).