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EU Tender TRAD 19
Thread poster: Rita Utt

Rita Utt  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 07:06
Member
English to German
+ ...
Jun 11

https://ec.europa.eu/info/news/trad19-prior-information-notice-2019-mar-07_en

Hello, there is a new EU tender for translations. EU would prefer pools of independent translators or small agencies. They said, they encountered quality problems with the big agencies they chose last time.
Maybe collegues who know each other via ProZ and KudoZ cou
... See more
https://ec.europa.eu/info/news/trad19-prior-information-notice-2019-mar-07_en

Hello, there is a new EU tender for translations. EU would prefer pools of independent translators or small agencies. They said, they encountered quality problems with the big agencies they chose last time.
Maybe collegues who know each other via ProZ and KudoZ could form pools to apply ...
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lubna2
 

Jean Lachaud  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:06
English to French
+ ...
Qu'est-ce qu'on apprend ? Jun 11

Rita Utt wrote:

EU (...) said they encountered quality problems with the big agencies they chose last time.



neilmac
Philippe Etienne
 

Claudio Porcellana  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 07:06
Member (2004)
English to Italian
+ ...
quality problems with the big agencies they chose last time... Jun 11

and the big agencies they chose the second last time, the third last time, etc....

I understand a new EU tender is online as far as some total stranger of an agency jumps out from nowhere asking for my data

and I usually reply that these tenders requires so much papers and hassle, and rates are usually so low, that I decided since years to only collaborate with agencies that give me regularly jobs, that
... See more
and the big agencies they chose the second last time, the third last time, etc....

I understand a new EU tender is online as far as some total stranger of an agency jumps out from nowhere asking for my data

and I usually reply that these tenders requires so much papers and hassle, and rates are usually so low, that I decided since years to only collaborate with agencies that give me regularly jobs, that is not the case of all LPs that ask for my data

[Edited at 2019-06-11 21:47 GMT]
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neilmac
missdutch
Philippe Etienne
Nadja Balogh
 

Rita Utt  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 07:06
Member
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
They would like groups of independent translators to apply Jun 12

But as we told them yesterday at the meeting in Paris, the way they organised the tender, it's not easy for groups of independent translators. So if somebody here is interested, just have a look at the link ...

 

Rita Utt  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 07:06
Member
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Low value contracts Jun 12

In language combinations where there is less demand, they offer low value contracts which imply much less paper work ....

 

Kaspars Melkis  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:06
Member (2005)
English to Latvian
+ ...
Good and bad things about this tender Jun 12

I just read the specifications. The best thing is that they value a degree in medicine much higher than a degree in translation with a degree in pharmacy and related sciences in between.

The negative thing is, of course, the amount of paperwork to be provided. It is clearly too much for a professional translator. It can be done but agencies will be much better equipped dealing with it. The most confusing is the item 1.7 of the submission form (a recent extract from the judicial reco
... See more
I just read the specifications. The best thing is that they value a degree in medicine much higher than a degree in translation with a degree in pharmacy and related sciences in between.

The negative thing is, of course, the amount of paperwork to be provided. It is clearly too much for a professional translator. It can be done but agencies will be much better equipped dealing with it. The most confusing is the item 1.7 of the submission form (a recent extract from the judicial record). It is explained that it could be a recent certificate issued by the competent authorities regarding the payment of social security contributions and the payment of taxes. Anybody knows whether the HMRC can issue such a certificate and how to request it?

Also they don't have any estimates of work volume which will make it difficult for a freelancer to plan ahead. An agency can more easily absorb varying volumes of work.

I don't like their inelastic Trados discounts. First of all, Trados is not really that helpful in this type of projects. Half of my work now does not involve TM. Also, 20% for full matches, is too low, in my opinion. My experience is that amount of effort in this type of projects is very individual and my clients often add surcharge based on extra time spent, in addition to the base fee calculated by the word count. Their conditions are worse than of many agencies I work for.

This can be mitigated if an agency quotes a higher rate per word and then absorbs the risk by hiring cheaper translators. In this setting quality is bound to suffer.

The biggest issue for me is in the item 1.6.
The assignment procedure works by proposing an assignment simultaneously via its portal to all the contractors in a lot and automatically award it to the highest ranked contractor that expressed its availability within the deadline given.

If I understand it correctly, it means that even if you win the tender, you will not be contacted when appropriate jobs become available. Rather, you will be expected to regularly monitor job boards and always indicate your availability among up to 15 potential candidates, and only one of them will get the job. That is the worst offer ever. Thanks but no thanks.

[Edited at 2019-06-12 07:00 GMT]
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neilmac
Philippe Etienne
Claudio Porcellana
 

Rita Utt  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 07:06
Member
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
@ Kaspars Jun 12

Hello,
This is strange, because they explained yesterday that they abolished the ranking and they gave yearly estimates of workload as well of prices of the translation agencies who won the pilot project tender (should be in the tender documents as well)
They said also that they inject their machine translation in pre-pepared translations without discounting them (which might be very interesting)
They told us to read the English Version of Tender and FAQ section and to ask que
... See more
Hello,
This is strange, because they explained yesterday that they abolished the ranking and they gave yearly estimates of workload as well of prices of the translation agencies who won the pilot project tender (should be in the tender documents as well)
They said also that they inject their machine translation in pre-pepared translations without discounting them (which might be very interesting)
They told us to read the English Version of Tender and FAQ section and to ask questions.
So if you are interested, go ahead and ask.
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Kaspars Melkis  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:06
Member (2005)
English to Latvian
+ ...
@Rita Jun 12

Hello Rita,

Sorry, I was reading about the other one: https://cdt.europa.eu/en/tenders/flscient19
Thanks for correcting me. I was sent the link by email and assumed it is the same. I will study this offer now.

I remember (if I am right) that someone on proz had circulated the list of previous winners. Their prices seemed to be so low that I don't know if it is
... See more
Hello Rita,

Sorry, I was reading about the other one: https://cdt.europa.eu/en/tenders/flscient19
Thanks for correcting me. I was sent the link by email and assumed it is the same. I will study this offer now.

I remember (if I am right) that someone on proz had circulated the list of previous winners. Their prices seemed to be so low that I don't know if it is even worth to read the proposal.
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Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:06
Member
English to French
EU problem Jun 12

I haven't read the whole pile of things to know before submitting, but I'd likely need half a day before actually doing anything towards making up an offer.

If the EU can't make their invitations to tender attractive to translators, if their requirements and terms are less competitive than what serious agencies offer, no wonder they don't get what they expect.

WE SELL OUR TIME.
The more time we spend on non-billable activities like free tests, case-making, hand-h
... See more
I haven't read the whole pile of things to know before submitting, but I'd likely need half a day before actually doing anything towards making up an offer.

If the EU can't make their invitations to tender attractive to translators, if their requirements and terms are less competitive than what serious agencies offer, no wonder they don't get what they expect.

WE SELL OUR TIME.
The more time we spend on non-billable activities like free tests, case-making, hand-holding or USP blurb, the less our yearly income. The only way to offset wasted time is by charging real money, not 0.08. Is it so difficult to understand?

It's strange, because from what I've seen, the EU offer compelling, tax-free packages to their in-house translators. Therefore they can offer royal conditions to translators, but only when they're employed.

Start with EUR10,000 for full-month work to match in-house wages. How many words is an in-house translator expected to deliver in one month (legal working time, no work late at night/weekends to ensure timely delivery...)? 500/hour? 60k/month?
Do they offer external translators 0.17/word or more? With the added flexibility, admin/asset cost reduction that freelancers offer? No? Why?
Remember, half of our gross income goes to tax, compulsory contributions, provisions for illness and holiday, pension plans, business expenses...

I am not going to burst an artery sympathising with the challenge of getting proper translators. Offer 0.25 and I am sure the response will be more satisfactory.

Seriously: submitting an offer to the EU seems a lot of hassle and unbilled time for a single freelance translator. Unless they have a lot of time on their hands, but that's not necessarily a good sign...
And in practice, I'd have to bill EUR1.5M/year in my language combination. Too many zeros for me. And a "translator team" faces the sames issues as an agency. Agencies are much better placed to do that with their back-office departments, but if they require a 50-70% share for it, the EU will stay stuck.

On the other hand, extensive invitations to tender may be the only way to ensure everybody is given the same opportunity, without possibility of bribery or undue preference.

Philippe
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Mr.Q
Tanja Oresnik
Rachael Clayton
 

Rita Utt  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 07:06
Member
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
@Philippe Jun 12

That's more or less what we told them yesterday.
They even want to pay, but they cannot fix a minimum price (and they have to take into account the prices offered in the tender)
I think things will change though (not yet in this tender)
because they told us, they had less and less inhouse translators, they would do more and more externalising
and poor quality means a lot of work for Inhouse translators.
So they will probably change to the better in the future


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:06
Spanish to English
+ ...
TLDR... Jun 12

In colloquial English, when something doesn't work properly, we say it's designed by a committee… which seems apropos here.

https://www.proz.com/kudoz/english-to-french/idioms-maxims-sayings/4090952-a-horse-is-a-camel-designed-by-a-committee.html


Claudio Porcellana
Philippe Etienne
 

Claudio Porcellana  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 07:06
Member (2004)
English to Italian
+ ...
1,500,000 words certified needed Jun 13

before somebody start raising their expectations, note that these tenders require you send a lot of reference letters, where the sum of your customers state you managed 1,500,000 words

now, unless you have one huge customer that gave you so much work, you'll have to ask for reference letters to tons of different customers...

in my case, for example, I produced that amount in 7 years, but spread among dozens of customers, that must ALL fill the reference letter...
... See more
before somebody start raising their expectations, note that these tenders require you send a lot of reference letters, where the sum of your customers state you managed 1,500,000 words

now, unless you have one huge customer that gave you so much work, you'll have to ask for reference letters to tons of different customers...

in my case, for example, I produced that amount in 7 years, but spread among dozens of customers, that must ALL fill the reference letter...
not mentioning they must state the number of "pages", not words!

now, I hope that Rita Utt mentioned this absurd requirement to them...
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Claudio Porcellana  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 07:06
Member (2004)
English to Italian
+ ...
DGT and CTD Jun 13

AFAIK, DGT is the administrator, while CDT (http://cdt.europa.eu/it) is the operating arm that manages tenders on behalf of DGT

so Kaspars Melkis thoughts are sound and relevant, IMHO


 

Rita Utt  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 07:06
Member
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Hello all of you Jun 13

They said, they changed their procedure.
So maybe they ask for less references, knowing that agencies have been cheating on them anyway.
I've got the E-Mail adress of their representative in Paris.
So maybe we should send them some suggestions,
based on this discussion here.
What would we like ? What is impossible for us ?


 

Claudio Porcellana  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 07:06
Member (2004)
English to Italian
+ ...
they ask for less references Jun 13

apparently nope

the offer I received (FL/SCIENT19) still requires 5,000 folders that are about 1,500,000 words

I checked my data now: to obtain that amount I have to start the count from 2013, with the amount spread among 10 customers

going further in the past I can double (and more) the data, but I lost many customers these years, or they came out of business, etc. so no way to reach them

some of the current customers don't like giving referen
... See more
apparently nope

the offer I received (FL/SCIENT19) still requires 5,000 folders that are about 1,500,000 words

I checked my data now: to obtain that amount I have to start the count from 2013, with the amount spread among 10 customers

going further in the past I can double (and more) the data, but I lost many customers these years, or they came out of business, etc. so no way to reach them

some of the current customers don't like giving references whatsoever: game-over

I think DGT/CDT officers live on Mars!

and it raises a question: considering that "so much experienced translators" are not "so much" in the world, how were tender's winners able to do the job in the past?

likely doing what DGT/CDT officers are afraid of, i.e. cheating... and if they insist on having impossible requirements, I think another disappointment is round the corner

[Edited at 2019-06-13 16:34 GMT]
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