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Text production in EU external translation


Quality requirement

Each assignment shall be carried out in full, in accordance with the instructions given on the Information sheet, order form and in the tender specifications (if applicable). The work delivered must have been thoroughly revised and reviewed by the contractor, so as to be usable as it stands, without further amendment by the Commission. The contractor shall pay particular attention to ensuring, inter alia, that:

– all specific instructions from the requesting department are followed (Information sheet);

– the delivered target text is complete (no omissions nor additions are permitted);

– the target text is a faithful, accurate and consistent translation of the source text;

– references to documents already published have been checked and quoted correctly;

– the terminology and lexis used are consistent throughout the text and with any relevant reference material;

– sufficient attention has been paid to the clarity and register of the target text;

– the target text contains no syntactical, spelling, punctuation, typographical or other grammatical errors;

– the formatting of the original has been maintained (Legiswrite, including codes and tags if applicable); and

– the agreed deadline is met.

The contractor may be asked to provide a final version of an assignment incorporating corrections requested by the Commission.

We strongly advise the contractors to take note of any terminology or stylistic preferences communicated by the DGT, with a view to adjusting future translation assignments to the Commission’s requirements.

As from the 16 June 2008, a new quality mark (Acceptable) has been added in our system. The quality values are now as follows :

– Very Good

– Good

– Acceptable (new)

– Below Standard

– Unacceptable

However the “acceptable” mark should be understood as “just sufficient”. In other words, it may refer to translations that are not ready to be sent as such to the requesting service and will possibly require significant revision or upgrading by DGT services or the contractor. It is worth pointing out that this new quality mark will undoubtedly have an impact on the position of the contractor in the ranking system and may lead in the long term to a re-assessment of his / her quality provided in the lot in question.

Reference documents

The contractors are required to consult all background or reference documents or glossaries supplied or recommended by the Commission and to make every effort to

consult any other information sources recommended by Commission’s Language departments.

Word-processing and spreadsheet programs

The main exchange format currently used by the Commission for word-processing is Microsoft Office Word 2003 , while Microsoft Office Excel 2003 may be used for tables (cf. original). In certain cases, translation of html, xml or ppt files could also be required. Original files can also be sent out in PDF or TIF format. In this case, translations should be produced in Word format.

Unless otherwise indicated in the information sheet, all assignments must be delivered in the same format as the original (source text).


“Eurolook” is a software program incorporated into Word which contains a set of styles to standardise the layout of Commission Word documents. When the original document is presented in Eurolook mode, the translated text must also use Eurolook, a format which does not rigorously follow the original pagination. Certain precautions must be taken:

– make a copy of the original document;

– ensure that end-of-paragraph marks (‘¶’), are visible on screen (Tools/Options/View/Paragraph marks);

– proceed paragraph by paragraph: to type over the text, put the cursor at the beginning or end of the paragraph so as to stay within the style, then delete the original text, taking care not to delete the character ‘¶’;

– do not hesitate to use the ‘undo typing’ function (Ctrl+Z), which enables you to reverse the most recent operations;

– save the text at regular intervals.

In Word, to make sure that the document is in Eurolook, check the Menu File/Properties/Summary/, Keywords must be EL4 (Eurolook 4.1 XL).

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