NTIF in the eyes of a non-translator

 Written 11 december, 2017

Stepping into the lounge hall full of translators and interpreters felt somewhat exciting and slightly nerve-breaking. But looking at the industry from a fresh perspective of an outsider quickly paid off. I have been able to embrace a fantastic mix of creative and practical thinkers who truly are passionate about what they do. What amazed me most is diversity. Most of the people at NTIF conference spoke more than 3 languages, have travelled the world and have entered the industry with big plans to change the ecosystem for the better. Having a privilege to experience all sides of the conference as a moderator, an audience and a keynote speaker, I can declare that NTIF is an incredible platform for various industry players that enables networking and truly disrupts the thinking process. It is all about quality content, collaborative workshops, international crowd, great vibe and, of course, legendary dancing!

To summarize my first and very vivid NTIF experience, I have put on a paper some of my key take-aways:

1). Always recognize the story and your role in it. Audience needs a villain and a Cinderella.
2). This industry is not just about translation from one language to another. It is a dynamic mix of simultaneous interpretation, silent language, graphic recording and even tweeting! This industry itself is a special kind of art.
3). Content is exploding – the need for high impact content is growing, but the need for low impact content is growing even faster.
4). Tech is good, but at the end of the day it still comes down to people, human interaction and serving customers’ needs.
5). Translation industry is vastly growing and it is on the edge of a big change.
6). Everybody talks about it but nobody really knows what will happen to the industry in 5 years considering the market overwhelmed with tools, gadgets, AI apps and platforms.
7). LSP is not a Language Service Provider, it is a Language Solution Partner.
8). Sarcasm is a humor of intelligent people.
9). It is important to educate buyers and clients as well.
10). Translators and interpreters are the most creative, diverse and internationally-minded people who also do not mind to being challenged.
11). Linguists can dance!
12). To stay relevant and be step ahead, companies always need to update their tacit knowledge, adapt to new technologies, be agile and differentiate. And this applies to all industries,
13). Every act of communication is a miracle of translation.
14). The success is collective, hence working together and making the change together is essential.
15). Above all I have learned how two individuals with their passion, drive and fantastic attitude can transform the traditional definition of a translation forum and provide a platform that unites like-minded bright minds to share, innovate and collaborate. And these two professionals are Anne-Marie Colliander Lind and Cecilia Enbäck – the God Mothers and Master Minds behind an industry-changing event.

It’s been a tremendous pleasure to moderate the conference and I hope to see you all at the next year’s NTIF.

Thanks, and may Sisu be with you!





Yuliya Nesterenko

Interpreting Technology Tasting (for ice-cream lovers)

 Written 10 november, 2017

The field of interpreting is undergoing some ground-shaking changes. Ubiquitous broadband has made multilingual streaming a reality. Neural machine translation is flirting with voice recognition. And Google has just introduced its first version of a babel fish that you can literally stick in your ear.

Pretty exciting news for users who believe they can now tour the world with their personal interpreter in their pockets. Delegates traveling on a shoestring budget also seem to welcome the chance of joining more meetings, more often from the comfort of their homes.

But the new wave is also cause for apprehension, with some conference interpreters feeling like they’ve been handled a bad hand. They resent being ushered out of the room and they harbor fears of predatory competition, low quality or both.

Squeezed in-between, the rest of us – commercial sellers and buyers of interpretation services – respond with hopeful anticipation and the anxiety of a six-year-old in an ice cream shop with too many flavors. And flavors do abound, as tech startups jump on the language bandwagon with promises that their RSI solutions will please every palate.

The truth is not everyone likes vanilla, and some of us are chocolate-intolerant. Solutions – or flavors, for that matter – will only be as good as the pain point or craving they address. How is one to choose?

Introducing NTIF’s Interpreter Software Challenge

NTIF will round up six of the most innovative players in the RSI field and give each one a chance to wow you. Each company will have five minutes to pitch their vision, their goals and typical use cases. At the end of their pitch, you get to rate each solution based on how closely it meets your specific needs. You will also have a chance to taste their cream before you enter the room, as vendors exhibit and demo their technology during the coffee-break on Saturday.

Ümit Özaydin, CEO of Dragonman and early adopter of interpretation technologies, will set the tone with an enlightening introduction. I will be there too, as a moderator, to make sure you get a taste of everything and to keep you from overdosing on the sugar. I will be adding my own flavor to the mix, too, as one of the challengers.

Is your mouth watering yet? So, save the date and bring your scoop. May the tasting begin.

November 24, at 13:30 – 15:00



Ewandro Magalhaes
VP of Communications
KUDO, Inc.

Innovation Workshop

 Written 6 november, 2017

From 23-24 November, the Nordic Translation Industry Forum (NTIF) will be hosting an exciting new initiative in Helsinki. In an off-conference workshop, four experts, led by Semantix Head of Translation Innovation, Robert Etches, will meet and brainstorm before joining up with the conference proper to present and share their findings and ideas in the closing Innovation Panel.

We have assembled a unique team that promises to be as disruptive as it is different. And we promise that this is not just going to be another walk around the TM/MT circus!

In a world governed by the Big Five (Apple, Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and Facebook) and changing as quickly as you can say Artificial Intelligence, Deep Learning, and the Internet of Things, who thinks we will still be charging for our services by the word in 2022? Or using translation memories, or paying for CAT tools, or producing and selling translation as we do today?

You too can join in the workshop! At any one time, two conference participants can sit in on the Innovation Workshop to listen and, more importantly, contribute to the final presentation. Join us and help to make this the conference workshop of 2017!

What to do in Helsinki?

 Written 19 oktober, 2017

By now you have probably already signed up for the conference. If you find the time and courage to venture out of the NTIF venue, here are my Top 3 tips for visitors to Helsinki.

1. Take a sauna

There are nearly three million saunas in Finland, an average of one per household. When visiting Finland, you don’t want to miss the opportunity to experience this national pastime. The new favourites among locals and visitors alike are Löyly and Allas Sea Pool. Both offer a public sauna, restaurant and bar to chill and sip a refreshing drink.

A more historic and authentic option would be the traditional Kotiharjun sauna in the Kallio district, in the neighbourhood of Paasitorni.

If swimming is your thing, head to the beautiful Yrjönkadun uimahalli, which dates back to 1928.

2. Hop on a tram or take a walk

An easy and inexpensive sightseeing tour of Helsinki can be done by boarding trams 2, 3 and 7. Trams 3 and 7 stop at Hakaniemi square, close to Paasitorni. The route will take you past many of the main sights and it’s a great way to travel among locals. If you follow the route all the way round, you’ll see the many faces of Helsinki, from the hipster district of Kallio, passing through the city centre, and all the way to the Jugend style quarter of Eira.

This year’s NTIF venue is Paasitorni, a historic Workers’ House located close to Pitkäsilta bridge, which connects the traditional working class areas of the city with the more bourgeois centre. The city centre can be easily accessed by foot in about 15–20 minutes by crossing the bridge.

For joggers, head to Säästöpankinranta and from there to Töölö Bay (Töölönlahti). A path circles the bay and there are some lovely cafes along the route as well.

You may also want to explore the vibrant neighbourhoods of the nearby Kallio district. Known for being Helsinki’s most bohemian district, there are numerous trendy cafes, small boutiques and hip bars.

3. Visit a market hall

One of three remaining old central market halls, Hakaniemen halli, is situated only a few hundred metres from Paasitorni. With everything from fresh food to souvenirs and handicrafts, this two-storey market hall is a good option for visitors interested in authentic Finnish food.

The oldest food market hall (Vanha Kauppahalli), dating back to 1888, was recently renovated and can be found in the city centre next to the market square.

The most delicious and warming fish soup in Helsinki can be found in both halls.

On behalf of the Finnish LSPs, Tervetuloa Suomeen!






Katja Virtanen
President, Association of Finnish Translation Companies SKTOL ry

PS. Did you know that this year the World Economic Forum ranked Finland as the safest country in the world for tourists to visit? Also, according to the UNSDSN 2017 report, Finland is the fifth happiest nation in the world. Just in case you’re still undecided.


Why Helsinki? Insights from a local!

 Written 15 augusti, 2017

By now you’ve probably already started planning to attend the next NTIF conference which will be held in Helsinki on 22–24 November. And why wouldn’t you? Surely you’re interested in some up-to-date, Nordics-focused industry news—and also some good fun with fellow professionals. As many of you know, the organisers, Anne-Marie and Cecilia, are renowned for throwing some of the best parties in the industry. No pressure, girls, but we have high expectations!

Let’s be honest, weather-wise, November is probably the worst month to visit Finland. So, don’t expect any of our famous nightless nights or any sort of winter wonderland. Instead, be prepared for only a few hours of daylight, biting winds and lots of slush on the ground. Luckily, NTIF is no Woodstock and will be held in the ruggedly beautiful, recently renovated granite building Paasitorni. Indoors, that is.

Ignoring the weather, Helsinki has been recently officially proclaimed by many important fashion leaders as hip. Indeed, my previously rather dull hometown has become a cool city with lots of energy and bustle. Vogue Magazine suggested earlier this year that Helsinki might even be the Next Capital of Cool.

This year, Finland is celebrating the 100th anniversary of its independence. In case you skipped your history lessons, Finland used to be a part of Russia, and before that a part of Sweden. We take a lot of pride in being an independent country with a rather small population and a weird and difficult language.

The anniversary year has been a banner for Finland. A wide range of fun events and festivals have been organised throughout the year, and a host of new hotels, bars and restaurants are opening. Suddenly, Helsinki seems to have become a foodie paradise, too. Furthermore, the proximity of events like Nordic Business Forum and Slush will make the late autumn an even more vibrant season—despite the weather.

I’ve attended all but one of the great NTIF conferences. For years, along with many others, I’ve been hoping that Anne-Marie and Cecilia would choose Helsinki to host the event. It took some time and persuasion, but in the end they couldn’t have chosen a better year. The best is yet to come in Helsinki, November 22–24.

See you there!





On behalf of the Finnish LSPs, Tervetuloa Suomeen!

Katja Virtanen
Association of Finnish Translation Companies SKTOL ry