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Tendering for contracts

DG Translation sends some of its translation work out to contractorstranslation companies and freelance translators. If you would like to be one of our translation service providers, you must respond to a call for tenders or a call for expressions of interest. These are published in the Official Journal of the European Union, on TED, the EU site for all tenders and on this site.

Both individual translators and translation companies can apply. However, we cannot consider speculative applications for contracts.

Our translation needs

The languages we need are primarily the EU's official languages.

Most commonly, these are translated into and out of English, French or German. We occasionally need translations involving other languages, e.g. Russian, Arabic and Chinese, accounting, however, for less than 1% of outsourced translations.

In 2013, we sent out 529 682 pages to contractors, about 26% of our total output. None of the texts we send out are confidential, politically sensitive or urgent.

Calls for tenders and calls for expression of interest

We issue calls for tender for language combinations or fields for which there is a large volume of work to be outsourced.

  • successful tenderers are awarded framework contracts (duration of 4 years max) which commit them to providing translations at a given price
  • individual translations are allocated to the contractor offering the best price-quality ratio
  • framework contracts do not guarantee that the contractor will necessarily receive work

Calls for expressions of interest are issued for lower-volume language combinations and fields.

  • tenderers who meet the selection criteria are added to our list of approved translation providers for a particular language combination or field
  • they will then be invited to quote a price for relevant jobs as they come up
  • jobs are awarded to the bidder offering the lowest price.

Calls for other services and supplies

We may also issue calls for tender for computer-assisted translation, revision, editing, and supplies of dictionaries and reference books.

Rules on EU public procurement

We are bound by the rules that govern contracting-out by all EU bodies: