Running a Successful RFP and What Translation Has to Do with It

Zana Čizmin 6 years ago 4 min read

Preparation of requests for proposal (RFP) is a serious and painstaking task that – when translation is included – may easily become even more complex. We might have a few tips for you that may help you avoid this being a challenge, find a reliable language solution provider and run a successful RFP.

You have been in charge of marketing, sales and/or procurement activities for several years now. For all this time of working on similar positions for different companies, you have probably worked with a certain number of translators, editors and language consultants.

It’s very likely that the word translation gave you goosebumps more than once and many times, to be perfectly honest, you might have said to yourself or your team something like: “Oh, if only I had the time to do this, I would’ve done a better translation myself and I am NOT a linguist!”

Finally, time came for you to take a step back, look at your company’s ordering procedures and to introduce the necessary changes to make the translation really work for you.

Budget projection

Make sure to have the required resources allocated for a period of 1 to 2 years. Check with your company/corporation accounting department and try to calculate what the annual cost of translation services was. Many companies do not have that data available but it might be crucial for your budget planning in the future.

Assessment period

Take your time to get an insight into the translation industry. Visit an industry conference, read a book, ask for advice. Many of your peers have been in a similar situation like yours and are now aware of the issues that need to be taken care of and may know something about the solution.

Centralize your procurement procedure for language services

You need translating into more than 15 languages? Try to find one provider of language solutions for all language pairs. If you are satisfied with the way they handle one or two languages, ask them about other language combinations as well.

Terminology management

This may be the most important innovation to be introduced to your everyday work.

The technology now enables us to develop translation resources on the basis of the previously translated and approved files. It also helps consistency become the main feature of your translated materials. Try it out.

Innovative calculation

Repetitions, new words, fuzzies…You might have heard about these terms before, but you are still accustomed to a good old text sheet, never being quite sure of the number of its characters, right?

There is a better and utterly transparent method of calculating word-based translation costs per project on the basis of the original document. In addition to being clear and automatically calculated, it is also designed to optimize the translation costs, particularly on a long-term basis.

Introducing technology

Translating without using language technology these days is like driving your car without a GPS system and trying to get to a certain village in Tuscany. Is that possible? Maybe, but there are smarter ways.

The market is still growing and the new features that make translation process more agile and effective are constantly being developed. In addition to helping linguists process greater amounts of materials for less time, they also help the language professionals enhance the quality of translation and enable clients to save money, time and energy, at least in the translation/localization department.

There are more services a translation company might offer

Desktop publishing (DTP), language engineering, in country reviews, software testing…all these services might be needed by your company. If you do not put it in the agreement, will you be able to order them and under which terms?

Ask your LSP about the supporting services they may offer, you might be surprised and your life might get easier.


You are worried about the sensitive information that your company is dealing with and you are not ready to hand it over to your translation provider. The solution might be simple! Ask your LSP to to sign the necessary NDA or other forms of legal documents before your cooperation.

Remember, your chosen LSP becomes your team member. If they work in accordance with the industry standards, they will be able to meet your needs in an efficient and secure manner.

However, you should bear in mind that ISO procedures do not cover everything and one of the things they cannot possibly cover is the additional value of building a good partnership that you develop with your vendor. In order to succeed in offering the proper solution to your needs, your LSP has to be treated as your partner and to communicate with you on daily or weekly basis.

We would like to hear about your experiences. Feel free to share them with us in the comment section below or contact me at


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