Audio Quality Enhancements for Remote Interpretation Services (EN578-170003/18)

Tender Notice


Publishing status
Days to closing
1 month 3 days hence


Publication date
Amendment date
Date closing
2018/12/20 14:00 Eastern Standard Time (EST)


Reference number
Solicitation number
Region of opportunity
Region of delivery
Notice type
Request for Proposal (RFP)
Trade agreement
  • None
Tendering procedure
Solely Canadian content
Procurement entity
Public Works and Government Services Canada
End user entity
Public Works and Government Services Canada

Contact Information

Contact name
Secrétariat de Solutions Innovatrices Canada / Innovative Solutions Canada Secretariat
Contact email
Contact address
10 Wellington
Gatineau  QC
K1A 0S5

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October 22, 2018

Amendment 001

A modification has been made to correct a grammatical error in the French version of this challenge notice.


This Challenge Notice is issued under the Innovative Solutions Canada Program Call for Proposals 002 (EN578-170003/C).

Please refer to the Solicitation Documents which contain the process for submitting a proposal.

Steps to apply:

Step 1: read this challenge

Step 2: read the Call for Proposals

Step 3: propose your solution

CHALLENGE TITLE: Audio Quality Enhancements for Remote Interpretation Services

CHALLENGE SPONSOR: Public Service and Procurement Canada (PSPC)



Multiple contracts could result from this Challenge.

The maximum funding available for any Phase 1 Contract resulting from this Challenge is $50,000.00 CAD (plus tax) including shipping, travel and living expenses, as applicable, for up to 6 months.

The maximum funding available for any Phase 2 Contract resulting from this Challenge is $400,000.00 CAD (plus tax) including shipping, travel and living expenses, as applicable, for up to 2 years. Only eligible businesses that have completed Phase 1 could be considered for Phase 2.

This disclosure is made in good faith and does not commit Canada to contract for the total approximate funding.

TRAVEL: For Phase 1 it is anticipated that three meetings will require the successful bidder(s) to travel to the locations identified below:

Kick-off meeting: Gatineau, QC

Mid-project meeting: Gatineau, QC

Final Review Meeting: Gatineau, QC


This challenge is seeking innovative solutions to provide superior sound quality for remote interpretation (RI) as current devices do not provide sufficient voice frequency (VF) range for interpretation and can cause workplace injuries and interruptions of service. The Bureau is seeking a solution that meets ISO standards


The Translation Bureau has experienced a sharp increase in over the phone interpretation assignments. These teleconferences with simultaneous interpretation are regularly conducted for conferences and working group meetings.

The sound quality coming from various devices such as conference phones and cellphones does not meet the ISO standards required for quality simultaneous interpretation and creates other challenges with respect to occupational health and safety for interpreters who deliver the service.

An example of an occupational health and safety issue: to hear the incoming sound from a teleconference, an interpreter needs to increase the volume to a higher setting as the quality of the audio signal coming in is not good enough to provide accurate interpretation. By doing so, there are greater chances of audio spikes that induce injuries. The Bureau has recorded several safety incidents within the last 2 years as a result, and in some cases, interpreters required immediate medical attention.

Historically, regular landlines provide a frequency spectrum of 4 kHz. The ISO standard has identified that a spectrum of 15 kHz is required to allow enough bandwidth in order to get a richer sound. We are looking for solutions involving some sort of live sound processing filtering technology. Enabling videoconferencing would also allow the interpreters to have a visual contact with the clients that will facilitate their work (lip reading, sign language, facial expressions).


See attachment 1 for additional information.

Essential Outcomes

The proposed solutions must:

  • Ensure interpreters have a visual of the person who is speaking when applicable;
  • Consistently reproduce 15 kHz; and,
  • Be easy for remote clients to implement on their side without significant disruption and cost.

Additional Outcome:

The technical solution should comply with ISO standards for interpretation (the most critical one being ISO 20109).


At this time, remote participants are joining the main event using conference phones, hands-free devices and landlines. These devices are not ISO compliant and regularly lead to service interruption since the poor sound quality does not allow the interpreters to properly hear what is being said. Interpreters need better sound quality than passive listeners as their own voice covers part of the speaker's voice.

The Translation Bureau would like to attain the ISO Standards (20108 and 20109). Those standards have both the audio and the video components. The audio is essential and the video is important as well when and as applicable.

Currently, the Translation Bureau has very little control over the types of equipment or their use with respect to remote clients and this is part of the problem. To solve the problem of sound issues for interpreters, the Translation Bureau has to be able to control the sound input coming from remote sites. To do so, the Translation Bureau must have a technological solution that will be easy for remote clients to implement on their side without significant disruption and increased costs for equipment.


All enquiries must be submitted in writing to no later than ten calendar days before the Challenge Notice closing date. Enquiries received after that time may not be answered.

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FileAmendment numberLanguageUnique Download Event (English page)Date added
attachment_1.pdfNot availableEnglish- 2018-10-17
piece_jointe_1.pdfNot availableFrench- 2018-10-17