Vademecum Public Markets

Translation is a professional human activity which generates a great deal of economic value, but which is largely unknown to most people. As in all professional activities, there are best practices. Disregarding those best practices can lead to unexpected results: sometimes amusing, more often embarrassing – and in some cases harmful enough to make the headlines of the international press.

This vademecum is aimed primarily at public authorities that procure translation services. It describes the fundamental concepts required to write effective tender specifications guaranteeing seamless collaboration with tenderers and maximum satisfaction for the contracting authority.

Only the translation-related aspects of the tender specifications are addressed in this guide. Legal and financial considerations are beyond the scope of this document.

Effective tender specifications elicit clear responses to the needs expressed by the contracting authority. As such, when drafting specifications, authors should seek to formulate tender requirements as accurately as possible, use commonly accepted terminology that is comprehensible to all parties involved, and take into consideration the constraints under which translation professionals operate.

The aim of this vade mecum is to familiarise the authors of tender specifications with best practices in the translation sector and allow them to set realistic requirements for translation professionals.

Examples of these best practices as well as templates for tender specifications can be found on the BQTA and CBTI websites.