Request for Proposal: Preferred Document Translation Vendor

RFP Issuance Date: October 21, 2021

RFP Submission Due Date: November 19, 2021

Period of Work: November 26, 2021-November 26, 2022

View this RFP as a PDF: RFP PDF

Description of Services Requested

Meridian International Center’s IVLP Team is seeking proposals for document translation services for any non-English speaking IVLP groups that may require documents translated into English. Meridian International Center intends to sign a non-exclusive preferred vendor agreement with the selected vendor for the period November 19, 2021 – November 19, 2022, with a two-year option for extension based on good performance. The selected vendor may work simultaneously with multiple program teams across the approximately 35-person division. Negotiation of any further agreements will be contingent upon satisfactory performance.

The U.S. Department of State’s (DOS) International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) seeks to build mutual understanding between the United States and other nations through short-term visits to the U.S. for current and emerging international leaders in a variety of fields. Each year approximately 5,000 International Visitors come to the U.S. on the IVLP. With the help of a dedicated network of community-based non-profit organizations, the IVLP has introduced more than 225,000 International Visitors to communities throughout the United States. More than 500 IVLP participants have become chiefs of state or heads of government. Currently, most IVLP exchanges are occurring virtually.

Technical and Functional Requirements

The ideal translation company will fulfill the following requirements:

  • Provide document translation services between English and a variety of languages, including, but not limited to Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian, and Spanish
  • Translate various types of materials on a variety of topics (refer to “deliverables and timing” for more)
  • Submit accurate translations within often short timeframes
  • Accurately track and separately bill sometimes overlapping translation needs of different program teams
  • Communicate to each Meridian IVLP programming team a preferred method of noting updates to program material, e.g. additions, deletions, etc. to IVLP National Program Books
  • Communicate in a timely manner and consistent fashion with each programming team

Deliverables and Timing

  • Accurate, formatted translations of submitted materials within timeframes agreed upon between the respective Meridian program team and the vendor
  • Formal invoices clearly denoting the materials translated with accurate word counts and price breakdowns within 10 business days of translation submission and/or within an alternate timeframe agreed upon between the vendor and the respective Meridian program team
  • A sample of the typical tasks and timelines for a virtual IVLP project is the following:
    •  Adhere to a 3-5 day turnaround for 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, video scripts, detailed program books, logistical information, participant surveys and responses, etc.
    • A formal invoice of the final breakdown of costs (including word counts and fixed fees for documents, if appropriate) within 10 days of the final translation request.

Fees and Expenses

  • Proposed fees must be listed per word or per another standard unit of measure, and the proposal must denote whether the standard unit of measure applies to the source or target language.
  • The quote must be valid for the duration of the approximately 1-year agreement period. Meridian International Center may, at its discretion, consider quotes containing graduated price increases over the course of the proposed agreement period and/or a shorter agreement period. Any such arrangements desired by the vendor must be explicitly noted in the vendor’s proposal.

Awarding the Quote

Meridian International Center will select a preferred vendor based on the competitiveness of the quote provided and ability to meet the technical requirements. With your quote, please list some of your clients/references and the physical location(s) where your translators work. Any questions regarding this RFP should be submitted to email address by Friday, October 29, 2021, and all quotes must be received by Friday, November 19, 2021. Consideration will be given to SMWBEs, so please note that in your proposal.

Meridian International Center intends to select a vendor by Friday, November 26, 2021.

General Terms

a) Your quote must remain valid for a period not less than 90 days after November 12, 2021.
b) Meridian reserves the right to accept or reject any quotations, cancel the bidding process and to reject all quotations at any time prior to the award of the contract.
c) Selected contractors will adhere to Data Processing Agreement terms and to prohibition on use of certain telecommunication and Video surveillance services or equipment as defined in Section 889(a)(1) of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 (Pub. L. 115-232) and as more specifically defined in Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) clause 52.204-25 “Prohibition on Contracting for Certain Telecommunications and Video Surveillance Services or Equipment.
d) All potential offerors/vendors agree to adhere to Meridian’s following privacy policy:

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can companies from outside the United States respond to this request for quotations (RFQ)? 
    To the extent possible, it’s 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.  
  • Similarly, may tasks under the agreement be performed outside the United States? In general, the answer is yes, especially if no other option is available in the US. However, Meridian prefers to comply with domestic preferences and award contracts to US vendors, especially to those that are a small business, women or minority owned.  
  • What are your provisions regarding data privacy? The winning contractor(s) will need to comply with our data protection policy: 
  • Will the vendor need to be physically present at Meridian International Center for any amount of time during the contract term? No, this is for document translation only. Everything can be coordinated with the selected vendor(s) virtually and via secure document sharing platforms.   
  • Can vendors submit proposals via email? Yes, but preferably via an organized attachment (Word or PDF) that addresses all our RFQ details and sets clear expectations, fee schedules, time frame for turning in translated documents, etc. 
  • Does the “3-5 day turnaround” refer to business days? Yes, it is 3-5 business days. 
  • Is there an approximate word count for the National Program Books? Program Books vary greatly in length, from just under 8,000 to over 16,000 total words.  
  •  How many vendors do you use for translation now?  For IVLP documents, Meridian works regularly with 5 vendors. 
  • How many vendors do you plan to work with after this RFQ? Meridian aims to select 2 preferred vendors for this RFQ. This is a non-exclusive contract, so Meridian may continue to work with other translation vendors if the selected vendors are unable to provide the needed translation. 
  • After the vendors are selected from the 15th through the 19th, when could translation requests potentially start? There is a possibility that work may be requested for December 2021, but it is more likely that selected vendors will be contacted for work starting in January 2022. 
  • What does translating video scripts entail? You will translate English language video scripts and refer to the time in the video when translations should be displayed. Meridian will be responsible for adding the captioning.