Nordic Translation Industry Forum

In November 2018, the annual Nordic Translation Industry Forum (NTIF) hosted over 140 language service industry professionals from over 25 countries in Oslo, Norway. Nimdzi’s Lead Interpreting Researcher, Rachael Ryan, spoke about the Virtual Interpreting Technology (VIT) landscape and attended almost all of the presentations.

The format

For those readers who have never attended NTIF, let us provide some background. NTIF was founded in 2010 by Anne-Marie Colliander and Cecilia Enbäck as a one-off event in an effort to establish a Nordic industry association. From the very first event, they quickly realized that there was a need for a regional annual industry conference  – and as they say, the rest is history.

The crowd

Nordic LSPs

Nordic independent contractors

International companies

This year’s program

The conference covered topics anywhere from localization quality and virtualization, to the sign language hip hop market. If you’re a visual person, you can access Linda Saukko-Rauta’s sketch-notes of all of the presentations that were in the main room.

Some highlights

Opening keynote

Marko Vuoriheimo

Following on from a hearty introduction presented by conference organizers and moderator, the keynote was from Signmarks, Marko Vuoriheimo –an extremely enlightening keynote that had the majority of the audience teary-eyed. He explained the history of sign language in Finland, sign language interpreting, and went on to give an account of his experience as a member of the Deaf Community. He spoke of his rise to stardom as the first-ever sign language recording artist, a special representative of Finnish Foreign Ministry on disabilities issues, and the founder of his own interpreting company, Mireal, which recently released its own Virtual Interpreting Technology, Chabla.

This was followed by a presentation by Bjorn Lifvergren on the expansion of BTI Studio and the landscape of constant change in the media localization industry. We learnt about the market of dubbing and subtitling, how one player’s decision can not only affect ROI in an instance, but can also impact on the digital revolution within media.

Hero Tolk, the Norwegian interpreting disruptor, gave an explanation of their growth and how they became the first Norwegian LSP to export and develop their business outside of Norway that recently acquired a company in Sweden.

Focus on Interpreting

On Friday, the morning was divided into two tracks – half on translation/localization and half on interpreting. Nimdzi’s own Rachael Ryan spoke in the morning on the landscape of Virtual Interpreting Technology followed by an engaging participant discussion. Participants then split into two rooms while Rachael moderated the interpreting track.

Technology at an international institution… say what?!

Ramūnas Česonis of DG-Interpretation explained what the European Union is doing when it comes to virtualization. They are exploring and applying computer-assisted interpretation processes:

  • Documentation and terminology management tools
  • Computer assisted interpretation, and;
  • Automation of programming

Through trial and error, the EU Commission hopes to streamline processes and incorporate technology into DG-SCIC.

Norway’s interpreting market

Leonardo Doria de Souza outlined the research conducted by IMDi which is the Norwegian authority for interpreting services in the public sector that works with a number of initiatives aimed at interpreters, users of interpreting services, and government agencies in order to:

  • Increase availability of qualified interpreters
  • Increase capacity in interpreter’s education
  • Increase awareness and knowledge about interpreter’s role, and;
  • Regulate and further develop the field of interpreting services

We learnt that 47 percent of interpreting in Norway is conducted over the phone because of the sparsity of the population and 92 percent of the interpreting tasks are in just 20 languages, with Arabic being the most commonly needed language.

The interpreter’s perspective

Judy Jenner of Twin Translations gave her perspective on virtual interpreting technologies from the interpreter’s point of view. She discussed why her colleagues are – at least at this stage – hesitant to jump on board and embrace her experiences with these technologies. Judy works as an interpreter in the US and had a unique take on the virtual interpreting technology landscape in judicial settings across the United States.


There were two key takeaways from the conference. Firstly, change in this industry is the new normal we need to adapt to the change, and adapt quickly. Many of the speakers spoke about how change has hit their company and how sometimes everything can change overnight. The general consensus is to go with the flow. Adapt to these industry changes and if you do so quickly, you’ll remain ahead of your competitors.

The second is news to no one technology is here to stay. It’s a key player in our industry, and it is wise to incorporate it in order to streamline processes and be more efficient.

The event was a huge success and Anne-Marie and Cecilia put on a wonderful show. The social activities included a fun welcome reception on the evening prior to the event, along with a beautiful dinner, followed by lots of dancing at Grefsenkollen overlooking Oslo after the program wrapped up.

The participants were all happy to see each other. There was a wonderful air of camaraderie among the Nordic language services industry professionals, and everyone was there to learn and meet new people. The NTIF is a great opportunity to learn more about the industry, and even though it is called the “Nordic” Translation Industry Forum, much like everything in this industry, it is definitely more global than regional,  closely covering other topics such as media localization and interpreting, and welcoming speakers from all over the world. If you’re interested in learning more about NTIF, we recommend visiting the Nordic Translation Industry Forum.

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