Top 3 Takeaways from 2013 Nordic Translation Industry Forum

by Steve Maule, Welocalize Director of Business Development

Stockholm by triposo

The 2013 Nordic Translation Industry Forum (NTIF) event, which took place in Stockholm November 21-22, focused on integration, inter-operability, implementations and opportunities to advance the translation industry. Steve attended the event and we asked him to share his insights.

I traveled to Stockholm recently to attend the 3rd Nordic Translation Industry Forum.  It is the first time that Welocalize attended the forum. The NTIF event had a good mix of presentations and panel discussions from LSPs, language technology providers and end-client translation buyers from leading Nordic companies.

The Nordic economy (Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland) are doing rather well and sit at the top of the league tables of pretty much everything from economic competitiveness to social health (source: The Economist, February 2013). The data suggests these countries perform better than the euro zone. Given that the Nordics export 40% of GDP, with Sweden’s exports equivalent to 50% of its’ GDP according to, translation and localization is an important discussion for Nordic industry leaders.

Here are my top 3 takeaways from this excellent event:

1. Listen to your customers. Hanna Moisander shared insights from, Scandinavia’s largest online fashion store.  Nelly invited customers to send in photos of themselves wearing their products.  There was a massive response but what surprised the team at Nelly was that the customers looked, dressed and behaved differently than they expected. This has helped Nelly focus on who their customers actually are and this in turn it has helped their translation and localization strategy.

Welocalize has just completed our semi-annual client survey and I have had a similar experience.  Customer feedback is always a great reminder of what is most important to our valued clients.  It reinforces our need to always listen, understand and learn about our customers, and what they think, not what we expect them to think.

2. Embrace change. And MT. Turns out translators actually love disruptive technology.  From a show of hands, most of us use Skype and almost all of us get our music via mp3.  So why don’t more of us embrace machine translation (MT)?  That was the provocative message from Indra Sāmīte from Tilde SIA, a translation technology development company, specializing in minor languages.

Welocalize is committed to helping our clients achieve their translation and localization goals with machine translation, as we understand not all content is equal.  MT may be best when speed and scale drive the highest values for translating content.

 3. Streamline your translation process. Michael Harboe from Jabra, the Danish world-leading wireless headset supplier, described how an integrated and efficient translation workflow helps them meet their goal of customer centricity when communicating.  They have removed and automated the boring administrative copy and pasting work. They calculate around one week is “saved” each month through streamlining plus, their teams are now more motivated.

Welocalize is a big advocate for customer-centric solutions and workflow efficiency.  We call it Operational Excellence (OPEX), where we work to get rid of your waste and improve your overall localization impact and processes.  We find the results are great savings in time and improvements in productivity for our clients.

Here’s one more thing I learned at NTIF — I can do the ‘Crouching Tiger’ against a wall, in my work shoes, for 100 seconds, after two glasses of wine. I’m proud to say this amazing feat raised €10 for the excellent charity, Translators without Borders.

steve_maule_ntif_2013Did you attend NTIF 13?  What did you think?  I am interested in hearing your thoughts.



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