The EU Parliament Issues a New 2024 Call for Tenders for Translation Services

EU Parliament Translation Tender 2024

The European Union (EU) has issued a call for tenders for translation services. The notice was published on its procurement site on February 29, 2024. Titled “126176-2024 – Competition,” the call for tenders is for open participation (i.e. there is no reserved participation) and there is no specific assigned budget.

This EU call for tenders is not related to TRAD 23, which was issued in 2023 by the European Commission (EC) for 50 language combinations and a specific volume of work.

This new tender covers translation of single and multiple source language documents in 24 EU languages, with each language being a “lot” in the contract, and involves four European institutions as buyers: the Directorate-General for Translation of the European Parliament (EP), the European Court of Auditors, the Committee of the Regions of the European Union, and the European Economic and Social Committee.

Each lot matches one of the 24 languages, and will include one main translation contractor and up to four secondary contractors. 

Agencies can bid on more than one lot, and contracts are estimated to last 60 months. However, there is an initial period of 12 months with the choice for the buyer to renew the contract four more times.

In order to be considered, agencies must meet certain criteria. The call for tenders lists “suitability to pursue the professional activity,” “economic and financial standing” (including no bankruptcy), and “technical and professional ability” as requirements to qualify, all of which are described in further detail in the procurement documents. To be awarded a contract, the translation provider will also have to meet less common additional requirements besides pricing and quality.

Tests for Translators and PMs 

Agencies who bid on this tender are required to list the translators who will be doing the work. Furthermore, the translators will need to sign a contract annex along with the agency’s legal representatives and project managers, who must also be listed. The translators and project managers will also need to pass competency tests.

Once awarded, the contracts will become effective on January 1, 2025, or the date on which the last contracting party signs. Contractors will then begin receiving signed purchase orders upon the electronic offer of a translation assignment. 

Contractors will then have the “obligation to accept and translate a defined minimum volume of pages per day of documents,” according to the call for tenders procurement documentation. In fact, there is a EUR 500 penalty per assignment if a contractor refuses a translation assignment, which is discounted from a future invoice.

There is no mention of machine translation (MT) in the contract specifications, but there are various page amount output metrics, based on source and target language. 

For example, for translation into English of a document in French, the contractor is expected to be able to translate 200 standard pages (defined by the EU as 1,500 characters without spaces) per working day vs. 40 standard pages per working day for a document in German.

This call for tenders replaces current contracts for the listed buyers that will expire by December 31, 2024. The deadline for submission of tenders is April 30, 2024.