Strategic thinking: the answer to vendor selection for EU Projects
As part of its commitment to multilingualism, the European Union (EU) must guarantee every citizen understanding of important documents in their mother tongue. All official documents must, therefore, be translated into 24 languages. The EU does not currently possess the in-house capacity to handle such a large volume of translations in-house, which is why they outsource a significant part of it. EU institutions spend tens of millions of Euros every year on translation, which is surprisingly only about 2 EUR per person. EU institutions are, therefore, considered to be strong prospective clients. As they are publicly financed, they are mandated to transparently select suppliers through open calls for tenders.
Whereas some translation companies consider participation in these tenders too complicated, others are willing to undergo a thorough procedure to get a contract. For one, having such a prestigious client automatically boosts a translation company’s credibility. But separate from that, such contracts usually automatically roll over yearly throughout a 4 or 5 year period. Some contracts are huge, while some are worth a few Euros. Most times, however, the money that can be earned depends on the evaluation of the submitted bid, that is the “quality of the offer” as they say. Today, the quality-price ratio is roughly 70:30, i.e. 70% of the weighting focuses on the quality of the offer and track record of the supplier, while 30% focuses on price. So if a supplier wants to justify charging a relatively good price, he must compile an offer that will gain as many “quality” points as possible.
In my presentation, I would like to analyse the specifications of one of the calls for tenders – quite a typical one – and outline which aspects are crucial o pay attention to in order to achieve the highest possible score. As the main theme of the conference is vendor management and presentation time is limited to 30 minutes, I would like to focus on the selection of the translation team because the contracting authority also awards solid points based on the strength of this element of a supplier’s offer. Competition is getting stiffer by the day so even a single point lost by the tenderer can influence the final result.
Having garnered 15 years’ experience with submission of bids for EU calls for tenders, I have gathered a fairly substantial base of knowledge that others may find worthwhile, and which I am more than willing to share. We will go through specifications in detail, simulate the criteria award process and try to read between the lines. Where vendor resources are concerned, I will advise you on the most suitable translator and reviser profiles, which qualifications/experiences are considered a plus, what one should never miss in the translator´s and reviser´s CV, and how to determine the number of translators that is sufficient for the contract.