Request for Proposal – Document Translation Services

Read the Full RFP as a PDF


Statement of Purpose

Meridian International Center’s various programming teams require document translation services for their virtual and in-person exchange programs. These include but are not limited to: The Meridian Center for Global Leadership (MCGL); Meridian Center for Cultural Diplomacy (MCCD); Meridian Center for Diplomatic Engagement (MCDE); and other programs implemented by Meridian.

Background Information

Meridian International Center is a non-profit organization that promotes international understanding through the exchange of people, ideas, and the arts. Established in 1960 and headquartered in Washington, DC, Meridian offers a wide array of outreach, exchange, and arts programs. We promote dialogue among people of all ages about global issues, connect professionals from different countries and enrich the cultural perspectives of audiences across the United States and abroad.

Scope of Work

The ideal translation company will fulfill the following requirements:

  • Provide document translation services (bi-directional) between English and a variety of languages, including, but not limited to Arabic, Chinese, Dari, French, Russian, and Spanish.
  • Translate various types of materials on a variety of topics (refer to “deliverables” for more information.)
  • Submit accurate translations within the agreed timeframe, usually 3-5 business days depending on length.
  • Accurately track and bill translation needs of different program Translation requests may sometimes overlap with multiple teams. Each team should be billed separately per project.
  • Communicate in a timely and consistent manner with each programming team.

Please note: this is a non-exclusive contract. Meridian aims to select 2-3 companies based on the responses to this RFP. However, Meridian teams may continue to work with other translation vendors if deemed necessary.

Performance Standards

Meridian requires the following performance and quality standards for translation companies:

  • Quality of translations are accurate and appropriate for consumption by high-level government, civil society, and corporate leadership.
  • Ability to translate documents on a wide range of topics, as determined by the U.S. Department of State and other Meridian partners.
  • Timely receipt and turnaround of materials and invoices.
  • Clear and accurate communication with Meridian program teams.

Meridian requires the following deliverables for translation companies:

  • Accurate, formatted translations of submitted materials within timeframes agreed upon between the respective Meridian program team and the vendor.
  • Documents to be translated may include but not be limited to: itineraries of virtual and/or in-person U.S. Department of State or other funder exchange programs, slideshow presentations, one-page handouts, email correspondence, participant survey responses, etc.

For International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) projects only:

  • Adhere to 3-5 business day turnarounds for each of the first, second, and final draft translations of a program’s National Program Book (typically 40-70 pages).
  • Translate other supplementary materials or content within 3 business days of receipt. These will typically include technical PowerPoint presentations, detailed program books, logistical information, participant surveys and responses, etc.
Payments and Incentives

Meridian requests a formal invoice be submitted within 10 days following the completion of a translation job, or at another deadline mutually agreed upon by the translator and Meridian programming team. Invoices should include the following and be sent to the Meridian staff person who submitted the translation request:

  • Clear and accurate word counts and price breakdowns.
  • A word count clearly stating which language is being used to establish word count.
  • The total due upon receipt

Meridian will pay all invoices within 30 days of receipt and is tax-exempt in Washington, DC, and the state of New York.

Preference will be given to vendors who:

  • Provide document translation (bi-directional) between English and Arabic, Chinese, Dari, French, Russian, and Spanish, among others.
  • Turn around translated materials (excluding highly formatted documents such as slideshows or exceptionally long documents) within 3 days.
  • Have past performance with Meridian or other similar organizations.
  • Are U.S.-based domestic companies and are classified as a small business, women-owned or minority-owned. To the extent possible, it is Meridian policy to comply with domestic preference provisions of 2 CFR 200.322 for procurements funded under federal assistance awards. These provisions flow down to our contractors.
    • Individual translators may be located outside the U.S., but the ability for Meridian to specify U.S.-based translators for certain projects and languages is a plus.
Requirements for Proposal Preparation

Please include the following information in your proposal:

  • Languages
    • Include which languages you are able to provide translation for.
    • Detail if languages are classified into distinct tiers based on ease of translation, availability of translators, etc.
  • Pricing
    • Outline pricing matrix based on language tiers or individual languages and note whether the source or target language word count is used for pricing.
    • Include whether pricing has a sliding scale based on previously translated words for Meridian, etc.
    • Note any additional fees, e.g., rush fees, formatting fees, or fees based on document type.
    • Note any required minimums per translation project.
    • Quotes must remain valid through February 28, 2022.
  • Translating Process
    • Briefly describe your translation process, how Meridian would submit documents and receive invoices, and how you ensure accuracy of translations as well as tracking separate billing.
    • Include any established procedures you may have for updating “live” documents, i.e., ones that Meridian may ask you to update multiple times over the course of a 4-week program.
    • Confirm guaranteed turnaround times for translations.
  • Company
    • Provide bios for key personnel and qualifications of translators.
    • Provide contact information for at least 2 references.
    • If applicable, describe previous work history with Meridian or other similar organizations.
    • Include any certifications for small business, women-owned, or minority-owned status
  • Additional Services
    • Although this will not affect selection under this RFP, it would be helpful to know if other services may be available such as:
      • Interpretation (verbal)
      • Video transcription and/or editing
      • Video captioning/caption translation directly into video file

Detailed pricing and technical descriptions of additional services are not necessary, just a general clarification on whether the vendor offers additional services would be helpful.

Evaluation and Award Process

Meridian will evaluate proposals based on a best-value determination; Offerors should submit their most competitive price proposal. Proposals will be evaluated using the following criteria:

- Technical proposal (40 points)

- Past performance (30 points)

- Pricing (30 points)

The evaluation committee will review the proposal based upon the criteria listed above. The cost proposals will be reviewed to ensure they are complete and free of computational errors. The committee will also assess the reasonableness of costs and the cost-effectiveness of the budget and will determine whether the costs reflect a clear understanding of requirements. A contract will be offered to the responsible offeror(s) whose proposal(s) follow(s) the RFP instructions and is/are judged to be the most advantageous to Meridian.

Timeline of selection process:

  • Indicate intent to bid by January 17, 2022
  • Submit questions by January 17, 2022
  • Submit proposal by January 24, 2022
  • Vendors will be selected by January 31, 2022
Proposal Submission Instructions

The bidder is required to follow the instructions contained in this RFP in preparing and submitting a proposal. The bidder is advised to read thoroughly and follow all instructions.

Each bidder is given wide latitude in the degree of detail it elects to offer or extent to which plans, designs, systems, procedures are revealed. However, insufficient detail may result in a determination that the bid proposal is materially non-responsive or may lower its technical score.

Offerors will submit proposed budget with their technical proposals via email to Maddie Orange, Program Officer ( and Ellen Manwaring, Operations Manager ( with subject line “Translation Proposal.” Separate technical and price proposals are preferred. All responses to this RFP must be received no later than the submission deadline.

Questions should be directed to Maddie Orange ( and Ellen Manwaring ( no later than the question/inquiry submission deadline by January 17, 2022. Reference the RFP number in all questions/inquiries (RFP NO. IVLP-0003).

Contractual Terms and Conditions

Proposals for the above services will be accepted from January 10 – January 24, 2022. Proposals will be evaluated based on the vendors’ ability to provide the services outlined above. Vendors will be notified of their selection status on/around January 31, 2022. Services will go into effect on or about February 1, 2022.

This is a time & materials contract for 12 months (February 1, 2022-January 31, 2023) with the option to renew for two additional option years pending satisfactory performance.

Meridian reserves the right to accept or reject any quotations, cancel the bidding process, and reject all quotations at any time prior to the award of the contract. Vendors will be re-evaluated on an annual basis. If vendors fail to meet the required needs during re-evaluation, Meridian reserves the right to terminate the contract.