On January 31, 2023, the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Translation (DGT) published a Prior Information Notice announcing a forthcoming call for tenders for TRAD23, a contract for the translation of EU documents from and into EU official languages.
The official contract notice is slated for release on March 1, 2023, after which informational sessions will be held in “most EU capitals.” The application deadline is May 31, 2023. The vetting procedure will include online testing for both linguistic and project management capabilities.
Although one tenderer could theoretically win all 50 lots — one for each language combination — the Prior Information Notice explains that a maximum of three contractors will be ranked for each lot based on quality and price criteria. Rank will determine the order in which contractors receive assignment offers.
Those assignment offers will quickly add up. In addition to dozens of language combinations, TRAD23 will cover more than 1m pages per year — an estimated 1,024,000, in fact.
And since TRAD23 will last from March 1, 2024 – February 28, 2026, with two possible year-long extensions, the volume could easily triple or even quadruple.
The volume of French – English translation (2,000 pages) is just 4% of the work expected for English – French translation (50,000 pages).
Tens of thousands of pages per year will be translated from English into other EU languages. English – Greek promises the most work, at 65,000 pages, while English – Estonian, English – Dutch, and English – Irish round out those lots with 30,000 pages apiece.
The figures for English – Irish translation seem optimistic, considering the EU’s longstanding difficulties in recruiting Irish translators. In January 2022, a multimillion framework agreement did not award the lot for nearly 26,000 pages of English – and French – Irish translation to any tenderer.
Disparities Among Language Pairs
Much less work is expected for into English pairs, from a maximum 7,000 pages for Spanish – English to just 1,000 yearly for English translation from Latvian, Lithuanian, Slovenian, and Swedish, respectively.
For a sense of the disparity, the volume of French – English translation (2,000 pages) is just 4% of the work expected for English – French translation (50,000 pages).
The volume of work for non-English language combinations is on par with that for into English pairs.
Translation into French ranges from 3,000 pages (German and Italian) to 2,000 pages (Spanish). French is the source language for the remaining non-English language pairs, with targets including Dutch (2,000 pages), Danish, German, and Italian (1,000 pages each).