The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade is looking for an online service to assist its staff serving overseas and their family members to learn other languages in pursuit of their work.

The service will use the internet as the delivery mechanism, and so be available worldwide using a laptop or a standard PC, says the request for proposal. "Availability for use on smartphone apps would be an advantage," it adds.

MFAT says it would prefer a supplier with local support for the service in the appropriate countries, though classroom teaching in the locations where staff will be posted is not a requirement.

"The online tool should encompass learning for the following languages as a minimum: Arabic, Mandarin, Korean, Japanese, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Portuguese, Indonesian, Vietnamese, Turkish, Dari, Farsi, Pashtu and English," says MFAT.

The service should provide interactive learning and be "easy to use, understand and manage for a non-technical audience."

Responses to the RFP are expected by January 30.

One potential bidder may have already lowered its reputation for technical knowledge in the eyes of the evaluation team, by asking if MFAT can provide a version of the Microsoft Office-formatted RFP document which is not "read-only" protected. A response on the Government Electronic Tenders Service (GETS) website provides simple instructions for turning off the document's read-only marker.