I.1 External translation in its various forms (see chapter II, "Definitions") is being used more and more by international organizations, for reasons of economics and technology, as a way to meet their translation needs.

I.2 This overall growth in external translation is reflected in an increase in the number of AITC members who engage in this sort of working relationship in one way or another.

I.3 However, no rules governing external translation have been established under any generally applicable agreement. Because the growth in external translation has come about only relatively recently, the CCAQ-AITC Agreement governing short-term in-house employment contains no provisions in this regard. In 1998, AITC adopted a Code for Contractual Translation as an adjunct to its Professional Code, setting out a series of professional ethical principles that its members are bound to uphold. In that Code for Contractual Translation, organizations have a guarantee of professionalism and quality when dealing with AITC members. Even though efforts are being made by organizations to assure appropriate conditions for the exercise of the profession, there is still a need to standardize concepts and methods applicable to external translation. This will be of benefit not only to translators but also to the organizations themselves, as agreement on mutually accepted rules will prevent misunderstandings and, as in the case of the CCAQ-AITC Agreement, will have a positive impact on the quality of work.

I.4 This need becomes particularly evident at a time when long-distance working arrangements are becoming increasingly varied. In pursuing a policy of rationalizing their use of resources, the various organizations are spawning new arrangements by combining traditional home translation with various kinds of framework contracts or other forms of external translation.

I.5 In the absence of an initiative by organizations, AITC has decided to present its members' concerns and requirements in regard to the various forms of external translation in the present document, so that it may serve as a reference text on the subject. All parties involved should benefit from the implementation of the guidelines set forth herein, which are based on the views of the professionals represented by the Association. These guidelines apply not only in respect of translation but also, mutatis mutandis, in respect of précis-writing and editing.

I.6 Thus, the members of AITC have a new instrument produced as a result of collective examination of the issue, to use in discussing the various aspects of external translation and its future with the organizations concerned and, if possible, in concluding agreements in that regard.


II.1 conference translator – General designation used to refer to translators, revisers, précis-writers and editors who work for international conferences or organizations.

II.2 CCAQ-AITC Agreement – Agreement concluded by the United Nations Consultative Committee on Administrative Questions (whose current successor is the Chief Executives Board) and AITC concerning conditions of short-term employment of translators, revisers, editors and précis-writers in organizations applying the common system. The Agreement does not address external translation, but is applicable mutatis mutandis to off-site translation.

II.3 professional domicile – Place for which the translator considers himself to be local for purposes of being hired under the CCAQ-AITC Agreement; it need not be the same as the translator's usual place of residence. In accordance with the Agreement and the AITC Professional Code, a translator may have only one professional domicile and it may be changed at intervals of not less than one year.

II.4 category – The classification of a translator based upon his experience, for purposes of being hired under the CCAQ-AITC Agreement.

II.5 in-house contract – A short-term work contract subject to the applicable staff rules and pursuant to the CCAQ-AITC Agreement, under which the translator works in an organization's offices or at a conference venue.

II.6 telecommuting – A working arrangement in which a permanent or temporary in-house translator performs his duties at a location of his own choosing, away from the usual premises provided by his employer. Such an arrangement may be occasional or ongoing.

II.7 remote translation – A working arrangement in which an organization provides translation services for a conference from its regular offices without translation staff having to travel to the conference site.

II.8 external translation – The rendering of translation services at a location chosen by the translator away from the usual premises of the contracting organization or a conference venue. It may take a variety of forms, such as contractual translation, translation under a framework contract, or off-site translation.

II.9 contractual translation – External translation work to be completed by an agreed deadline and paid on the basis of the number of words. Synonym: home translation

II.10 framework contract – A contract between an organization and a translator under which the translator commits himself to translate on an external basis a certain agreed number of words during a given period, for which he will be paid a fixed remuneration even if the expected translation demand should fail to materialize, on the grounds that the translator is guaranteeing his availability to accept the work. Beyond that number of words, any additional material that the organization offers to the translator and that the translator agrees to translate is paid as an additional amount, at the rate stipulated by mutual agreement for that purpose. The contract may include a period of in-house work and may entitle the translator to certain benefits enjoyed by permanent staff over the entire duration of the contract. Synonyms: umbrella contract, retainer contract; may be subsumed under the general rubric special services contract.

II.11 off-site contract – A short-term work contract under which the translator works according to an agreed schedule at a location other than an organization's offices or a conference venue, and pursuant mutatis mutandis to the provisions of the CCAQ-AITC Agreement.


III.1 External translation should be seen as an extension of the organization's regular in-house translation service. In opting to use external translators, an organization should apply the same quality standards as for in-house work, and not base its decision solely on criteria of cost or work flexibility. If an external translator's work is revised, he should be given back the revised translation, accompanied by comments if possible. In any event, an organization that uses external translators should offer them the opportunity to work on in-house contracts as well.

III.2 The organizations' translation services draw up and maintain their rosters of external translators on the basis of their requirements as to quality, reliability and experience. Without prejudice to their right to select their external translators as they see fit, it would be desirable for them to establish certain practices to facilitate relations between recruiters and translators, and provide better guidance to recruiters seeking translators and to translators seeking work.

III.3 Translation agencies should not be used except in special circumstances (e.g., a situation in which it is impossible for the organization to know of translators in particular countries or for particular languages, or to make contact with them directly). Moreover, beyond the fact that the use of agencies has not been demonstrated to offer economic benefits, this practice prevents the organization from overseeing the translators' work directly and deprives the translators of essential contacts with the terminology service and other services of the contracting organization. For the same reasons, given that translators are personally responsible for the work they accept, they should undertake not to subcontract it without the express approval of the contracting organization.

III.4 External translation work should not be assigned through competitive bidding to the translator who offers the lowest price, as this offers the organization no guarantee of quality and fosters unfair competition.

III.5 To help external translators maintain their familiarity with the working tools, procedures and terminology of the organizations for which they work, the organizations should from time to time offer short-term in-house contracts to those external translators that work regularly for them and are willing to accept them.

III.6 The volume of work done under external translation contracts, converted into an equivalent number of days on the basis of the organizations' daily output standard, should be recognized as part of the translator's required experience for purposes of reclassification under the CCAQ-AITC Agreement.


IV.1 Organizations should ensure that the texts of which they request a translation are legible and grammatically correct. So far as possible, documents to be translated should have been subject to prior editing. Handwritten or hand-corrected texts should be avoided. In any event, it is useful to designate the author or some other responsible individual as a contact person with whom any doubts, ambiguities or discrepancies in the original text can be clarified.

IV.2 Every text to be translated should be accompanied by the necessary references or, alternatively, by links to sources where those references can easily be obtained. The organization's glossaries should be made available to translators in electronic form, together with any other translation aids it may have developed. In general, the organization should ensure that the translator has unrestricted access to its terminology and documentation databases and any updates to them.

IV.3 External translators should be furnished with the same technical facilities as those provided for work in house, subject to any legal restrictions relating to the safeguarding of intellectual property. If the organization possesses tools and software that are in the public domain and which have been prepared to assist the work of translators, it should make the same available to its external translators as well, in so far as possible. Similarly, external translators should be able to seek help from the organization's technical assistance service in order to resolve any software application problems arising in connection with the work they have been assigned.

IV.4 When a lengthy document is split among several translators, each translator should be informed of who the others are so that they can all consult with one another to share terminology resources and standardize phrasing.

IV.5 The work of external translators should be seen as an integral part of the production process in the translation services concerned. Consequently, conditions should be created to foster a long-distance working relationship between external translators and their in-house colleagues, for purposes of making consultations and contributing to terminology files. A useful way to do this is by opening internal electronic discussion forums to participation by external translators who work regularly for the organization.


V.1 The remuneration paid for external translation should be comparable to that paid for in-house contracts. Where fixed remuneration is paid (as in the case of framework contracts or off-site contracts), the translator's salary should be based on his category for in-house contracts pursuant to the CCAQ-AITC Agreement. If the translator is paid according to the amount of text translated, the rate should be based on the ratio of the gross salary payable to a local translator in a mid-level category to the daily workload standard, expressed in countable units of original text (such as words or thousands of words). For translation between languages that do not have comparable structures, other arrangements are also possible provided that they yield equivalent results.

V.2 In determining an external translator's remuneration, an organization may take into account such factors as whether the translation will need to be revised, whether the translation must be delivered in electronic form and camera-ready, the level of difficulty, and the urgency of the work. Apart from these factors, however, remuneration must not be subject to discrimination of any kind.

V.3 If an organization requires any work to be completed in a shorter period of time than the number of working days determined by dividing the length of the text by the organization's daily workload standard, not including days of rest or legal holidays recognized by the organization, such work is considered urgent and is to be paid at a higher rate.

V.4 The remuneration paid should also take into account the expenses incurred in performing the work, particularly for facilities and equipment, as well as related communications costs.

V.5 Organizations should ensure that translators are paid as quickly as possible, and in any event within 90 days.


(a) Contractual translation

VI(a)1 In the case of contractual translation, the working relationship between the organization and the translator should be formalized by means of a contract in due and proper form. The contract must be signed by both parties, in so far as possible well before the date on which work is to begin. Alternatively, and pending the execution of the formal contract, the principal terms of the contract should be clearly set forth in a prior exchange of messages sent electronically or by other means.

VI(a)2 The contract should stipulate, in particular, the number of words of source-language text to be translated, the applicable rate, and the delivery deadline, together with layout requirements.

VI(a)3 Without prejudice to the foregoing recommendations, the parties may conclude a contract for ongoing services. When such a contract is in place, it is sufficient to prepare a job sheet for each translation stating the number of words, the rate, and the delivery deadline.

(b) Framework contract

VI(b)1 A framework contract, of which there are various kinds, should be concluded, or at least have its terms agreed upon, well in advance. Among the provisions that should be included are the period of employment, including in-house employment if applicable, the remuneration, and the minimum number of words to be translated during periods of external work.

(c) Off-site contract

VI(c)1 An off-site contract should be modelled on the standard in-house contract and should abide mutatis mutandis by the provisions of the CCAQ-AITC Agreement. VI(c)2 The translator's full salary should be exempt from national income tax in the same way as the salaries paid to permanent staff translators and freelance translators working on short-term in-house contracts. At the translator's request, the organization should provide the same certificate of tax exemption that it currently provides for the other staff mentioned, or reimburse any national income tax the translator may be required to pay.

VI(c)3 The core hours during which the translator undertakes to be available to the translation service for any unscheduled contact should be fixed by common agreement, taking into account the time zone in which the translator is working.

VI(c)4 Provision should be made to foster ongoing contact between translators working under off-site contracts and the translation service for which they work, as well as to ensure that they have access to the same terminological resources available to their other colleagues and the remote technical assistance provided by the organization's telematics services as regards access to the organization's documents. Particularly during meetings, all translators concerned should have the opportunity to consult with one other, in order to resolve speedily any problems that may arise and to standardize the terminology and style used in documents.


VII.1 AITC believes that all parties concerned will benefit from the application of common rules for external translation services, based on the recommendations presented above or other provisions agreed jointly between translators and employers. Accordingly, AITC should be recognized as having the authority, on behalf of its members, to negotiate draft agreements applicable to all translators with any organizations wishing to conclude the same.

VII.2 These guidelines may be amended, amplified or rescinded at any time as developments in the area of external translation warrant.

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