A very interesting document has just been made available in DGA3: the Midterm review on the Implementation of the Pilot Project on Outsourcing. If you don’t have the time or inclination to read it, there is an article on Atrium which gives a fairly good summary of the main findings. The experiences of four units (DE, HR, PL, SV) involved in outsourcing translation work over the first six months of the year show that relatively few GSC documents are suitable for outsourcing. It is also very difficult and costly to get translations back within the required deadlines – not to mention that the quality is not up to scratch.
This confirms what we already knew: given the specific nature of translation at the Council and the problems inherent in outsourcing (level of quality required, value for money and compliance with deadlines), outsourcing translation work is not a good choice for the GSC. We might also mention that the figures in the T2020 report by DGA3 management on the number of pages that could be outsourced were clearly wishful thinking. So is this option off the table? Not at all. Though we are turning our backs – perhaps a little hastily – on the Translation Centre, the private sector is not getting the same treatment. Nor is the possibility of having accredited translators in the Member States, which is currently being explored (with the utmost transparency, needless to say).
Of course, it might be more useful to harness the skills and energy of the colleagues tasked with carrying out these pilot projects to look into ways of improving internal management, organisation and the coordination of work in order to ensure the quality of the service provided in all languages, not just to our colleagues at the GSC but also to the citizens and delegations of all the Member States. Nevertheless, we must welcome the continuation of the pilot project because the longer it lasts, the clearer the drawbacks of outsourcing become, and the more justification we will have in defending our reliable and high-quality in-house translation service.
Read the rest of the Council October Flash here.