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"Call for tenders"
Thread poster: Robert Forstag
Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:06
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Mar 26, 2014

I cannot be the only person who has noticed two posts on the Jobs Board from different agencies requesting translators to send references from third parties corroborating that they have translated X thousand pages of general material and X thousand pages of legal material. This in order to be considered for work on a long-term EU contract.

In addition to the two posts here, I received an e-mail from a third agency that obviously was in reference to the same tender.

Conducting a count of words/pages for this purpose on the basis of one's archived translations would seem to be no mean task for those of us who don't keep a running count by subject of the material we translate. Still more daunting would be separating each translation by client/agency and then contacting each to importune them to send a verification letter to each of the agencies that is submitting a bid for this project. This might be rather awkward in the case of agencies for whom one hasn't worked in some years and impossible in the case of agencies/clients that are no longer in business or who have passed away. (Would a recorded seance be considered acceptable in such cases?)

I also wonder how the different agencies submitting bids can hope to differentiate their offers from one another if they are drawing on the same restricted pool of translators who have actually taken the trouble to fulfill each of these requirements (although I suppose in the end it would just come down to price).

I truly would appreciate some enlightenment on these issues.

[Edited at 2014-03-26 14:18 GMT]


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JL01  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:06
English to French
+ ...
an EU requirement Mar 26, 2014

there is some sort of EU requirement that translators for EU documents must prove experience, measured in number of translated pages. One more layer of bureaucracy, and one more reason why EU is, not as popular as it should, shall I say with diplomacy.

I'm sure EU-based translators will chime in.


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Branka Ramadanovic  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 20:06
Member
English to Croatian
+ ...
Dear Robert, Mar 26, 2014

I believe you are right about one: it all comes down to price. I have even tried to take all this trouble to fill in all those forms required for such tenders so many times, but not a single agency has never ever contacted me back (except one guy who albeit did not win the tender) to tell me anything about the results. Even when I inquired I either received no response or was responded that there are no results yet. So I have decided not to take part in these tenders any more. Any more comments? I think this is an interesting topic.

Best,
Brana


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dianaft  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:06
Member (2013)
German to English
+ ...
no current calls for tender... Mar 26, 2014

As far as I know, a call for tenders or expression of interest must be published before any such process takes place.
However, this is not the case just now. There is an open call for tenders for electronic dictionaries and databases and one for supply of subscriptions to periodicals, as well as a call for expressions of interest for an independent study in French. No legal translation tenders.

It also says here: http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/translation/workwithus/calls/index_en.htm
explicitly, that "jobs are awarded to the bidder offering the lowest price".

I would venture a guess that some agencies bank on a number of translators getting rather excited about potentially working on EU documents and "forgetting" about their NDAs.

[Edited at 2014-03-26 14:38 GMT]


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Maria S. Loose, LL.M.  Identity Verified
Belgium
Local time: 20:06
German to English
+ ...
Translation Center for the Bodies of the European Union! Mar 26, 2014

This Center regulary launches calls for tender and they have just launched some quite recently. Please go to their website to see for yourself.The European Commission is not the only EU institution to launch call for tenders.

As far as counting pages is concerned, it says in the EU financial regulation that tenderers have to prove their technical capacity. How else can you prove your technical capacity than providing information about the projects you worked on.

I would advise any freelance translators who can prove their experience to submit an offer directly for their language pair without going through an agency. Just try it, and you will get feedback directly from the EU institution concerned.


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sazo  Identity Verified
Croatia
Local time: 20:06
Member
German to Croatian
+ ...
I wrote on my proz profile page Mar 26, 2014

that I do not participate in any calls for EU tenders unless I'd been working for that agency on a regular basis. I simply don't have the time to take part in something which is that much time-consuming.

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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:06
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Seconded Mar 26, 2014

Branka Ramadanovic wrote:
I believe you are right about one: it all comes down to price. I have even tried to take all this trouble to fill in all those forms required for such tenders so many times, but not a single agency has never ever contacted me back (except one guy who albeit did not win the tender) to tell me anything about the results. Even when I inquired I either received no response or was responded that there are no results yet. So I have decided not to take part in these tenders any more. Any more comments? I think this is an interesting topic.

Exactly my experience. When I read "EU tender" in an email from a prospect I stop reading and reply to politely say that I am not interested.


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xxxnrichy
France
Local time: 20:06
French to Dutch
+ ...
Who would be interested Mar 26, 2014

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

Exactly my experience. When I read "EU tender" in an email from a prospect I stop reading and reply to politely say that I am not interested.


in working for half the (already low) tender prices?


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Branka Ramadanovic  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 20:06
Member
English to Croatian
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What Mar 26, 2014

do you mean?

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Louisa Berry
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:06
Member (2009)
German to English
+ ...
No thank you Mar 26, 2014

I've had at least 5 different agencies who I've never been in contact with emailing me about a current EU tender they are bidding on. Given that most of the time they use the CVs of good translators to win the contract and then use cheaper translators to actually carry out the work, as the good translators will not work for the prices they need as per the contract, I always say I am not interested.

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philgoddard
United States
German to English
+ ...
This must surely be the EU's fault. Mar 26, 2014

It seems to me that asking translation companies to provide lists of who they'll be using, and how many thousands of words they've done, is a meaningless charade.

The agencies can't know in advance which translators they'll be using if they win the contract. But they still have to go through the rigmarole of asking translators for this information, and being ignored by experienced translators who know they're very unlikely to get any work as a result of doing so.

I also don't understand why the EU uses agencies at all. If they're supposed to get the best value for money for taxpayers, they should be using freelances and cutting out the middleman.


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Dr. Tilmann Kleinau  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 20:06
Member (2006)
English to German
+ ...
Thank you ... Mar 27, 2014

...all of you for this interesting discussion!

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Maria S. Loose, LL.M.  Identity Verified
Belgium
Local time: 20:06
German to English
+ ...
Why don't you apply directly ? Mar 27, 2014

philgoddard wrote:



I also don't understand why the EU uses agencies at all. If they're supposed to get the best value for money for taxpayers, they should be using freelances and cutting out the middleman.


Why don't you apply directly? The EU does sign contracts with freelancers. I know colleagues who are freelancers, who have applied directly and who were awarded a contract. Basically any company and any individual is free to participate in EU tenders. Being a freelancer, your value for money might be better than that of an agency, because as you said, there would be no costs to be paid to the middleman.

If you want more information, just ask. I am a translator and also a lawyer specialized in EU procurement procedures. I might be able to give you some information about how to apply.


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Dr. Matthias Schauen  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 20:06
Member
English to German
Other thread Mar 27, 2014

dianaft wrote:
It also says here: http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/translation/workwithus/calls/index_en.htm
explicitly, that "jobs are awarded to the bidder offering the lowest price".


Dianaft, the sentence you quote is for "calls expressions of interest". For "calls for tender" the same page says "individual translations are allocated to the contractor offering the best price-quality ratio".
More information on what that means can be found for example in the following thread, which started quite similar to the present one: http://www.proz.com/forum/money_matters/227032-is_the_eu_pressing_rates_too-page2.html#1963175

Matthias

[Edited at 2014-03-27 13:05 GMT]


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Maria S. Loose, LL.M.  Identity Verified
Belgium
Local time: 20:06
German to English
+ ...
60 per cent of the points for quality and 40 per cent of the points for price Mar 27, 2014

The EU usually gives 60 per cent of the points for quality and 40 per cent of the points for price. The EU also has minimum requirements such as the translator having a University degree or many years of experience.

Language pairs are divided into lots. There is one lot per language pair. So you do not have to be an agency covering numerous languages.

I know colleagues personally who have applied directly without going through an agency and who have been awarded a contract. And I am sure that they are not working for peanuts.

Please look up the details in the tendering specifications to be downloaded on the Internet page of the Translation Centre for the Bodies of the European Union


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