Bidding to Provide Interpretation Services: The Calliope Advantage

 | Interpretation best practices, Interpreter insights

One might expect the contenders for major interpretation contracts to be large international agencies. However, Calliope’s individual consultant interpreters are able to draw on the network’s collective experience to submit successful, high-quality, competitive bids, and provide an outstanding service to their clients, offering advantages which others have difficulty matching.

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Calliope’s individual consultant interpreters are uniquely placed to provide a better solution to tenderers’ requirements than large translation agencies, as demonstrated by the many international organisations and institutions that have decided to entrust us with their interpretation services over the years. It is the strength of Calliope’s network, above all, which enables its individual members -- all consultant interpreters in their own right -- to achieve this success. In turn, the organisation concerned benefits from the breadth and depth of the combined experience and expertise of a global network.

A Calliope consultant interpreter offers the following advantages:

  • One single, personal, contact point who is a consultant interpreter, not an administrator: A consultant interpreter offers expertise, personal human contact and flexibility, without compromising on professionalism.
  • Tailor-made solutions every time: For a consultant interpreter each and every meeting is a unique project and benefits from his/her full attention. Bespoke solutions can be implemented more easily when freed from the constraints of more rigid one-size-fits-all company management software systems.
  • A hands-on Chief Interpreter: A Chief Interpreter usually interprets at the organisation’s meetings in person, and therefore has a unique insight into the organisation's exact requirements and physical working conditions. Any issues with the physical constraints in an organisation’s building, for example, can be smoothly resolved.
  • Interpreters hand-picked for their expertise: A consultant interpreter usually knows his/her interpreters personally; they are not just names on a list. Interpreters can therefore be selected for particular meetings in line with their areas of expertise. Clients can be confident that, whether the subject is maritime safety, banking and finance, or diplomacy, the interpreters will be highly qualified and experienced in that specific field.
  • A loyal team of interpreters: Personal contact between the consultant interpreter and his/her interpreters brings loyalty - invaluable when securing the services of the best qualified colleagues, sometimes at short notice.
  • Confidentiality and professional secrecy assured: Calliope consultant interpreters’ choice of interpreters accredited by AIIC (the International Association of Conference Interpreters) gives clients peace of mind that the interpreters will adhere to AIIC’s rules on confidentiality, including its Code of Ethics and Professional Standards.
  • Lower overhead: An individual consultant interpreter will generally have lower administrative overhead than a large company, allowing a greater proportion of the organisation’s interpreting budget to be spent on quality interpreting.

Tendering documents are often designed with large companies in mind, which can make the process difficult to navigate for individual bidders. A useful resource for organisations wishing to invite bids for interpreting services is AIIC’s Guidelines for Drafting Tenders for Conference Interpreting Services. While acknowledging that tenderers will have strict technical requirements, relating, for example, to minimum turnover, tax compliance, a business continuity plan and a secure document distribution system, these guidelines can help to ensure that the tendering documents are drafted to take account of all potential bidders.

Calliope members who have won major tenders include:

While in the past such organisations tended to prefer to deal with large language companies, they are now recognising the benefits of working with a reputable consultant interpreter, particularly a Calliope member with the back-up of the global Calliope network. After all, submitting a tender might be a long and rigorous process, but the real work starts once a tender has been won. And that is when the Calliope network really comes into its own.


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