The Translation Centre works with external language service providers for translation, modification, revision, editing, terminology and term lists to cover the language service needs of its clients. To outsource these services, the Centre uses either framework or specific contracts depending on the type of service, the language combination and the field required by the client.

External language service provider

Framework contracts are signed with service providers who are successful in calls for tenders organised by the Centre. These contracts are valid for 1 year and may be renewed by tacit agreement for further periods of 1 year, without, however, exceeding a total duration of 4 years. Contractors are contacted when orders for work are placed by the client. If the first contractor on the list is unable to execute the order or does not reply, the Centre may offer the work to the second contractor, and so on down the list. Specific contracts are signed between the Centre and an external language service provider for a specific language service and field not covered by a framework contract, or if no contractor on a framework list is able to do the job.

The modern, proactive outsourcing model in place at the Centre relies on three main elements: expert external language service providers; a dynamic assessment (reranking) system (introduced for the first time in the EU by the Centre) that ensures the best language service providers are used; and providing language resources to external service providers to help them in their work.

All jobs produced externally and delivered to the Centre by external language service providers should be of sufficiently high quality to be usable, as they stand, without any further revision by the Centre. However, as a key part of the Centre’s quality assurance assessment of these service providers, all jobs are systematically reviewed by in‑house linguists using an assessment sheet to make sure they are fit for purpose. The sheet contains not only an overall assessment of the translation or editing quality but also, where necessary, detailed information on the types of errors found. The Centre focuses on completeness and accuracy, correct quoting of reference documents and published material, compliance with instructions, and terminological and stylistic consistency. The Centre outsources language services mainly in the 24 official languages of the EU but also in other non-EU languages such as Icelandic, Norwegian, Arabic, Russian, Serbian, Chinese, Japanese, Hebrew, Farsi, etc.