After a three-year break, the Finnish Language Service Providers SKY organised the #KIELI conference in the magnificent Little Finlandia on Friday, 9 September. The #KIELI conference is one of Finland’s largest language industry events and this year’s theme was growth stories. In addition to Finland, there were also people from many other European countries. It was wonderful to once again meet people in the language industry face to face!
Growth as the theme
The event featured a diverse range of speakers, who discussed growth from several different perspectives. In his morning presentation, the first keynote speaker Pekka Mattila talked about the pattern of growth, after which Katja Virtanen gave practical tips for boosting the growth of one’s own company. In the lunch panel discussion, the chairpersons of the language service industry associations of Sweden, Finland, Estonia and Latvia, Anne-Marie Colliander Lind, Erik Miller, Inge Rätsep and Indrė Lelevičienė, discussed what is happening in the language service industry in the Nordic and Baltic countries now and also in the future.
After lunch, the programme was divided into two tracks in different conference rooms. In one of the rooms, the topic was “Language professionals and growth”. Indrė Lelevičienė talked about building a personal brand and how important it is, and Mirka Lahti discussed growth and the importance of networking from the perspective of a solopreneur. In the other room, the topic was “Growth through language technology”. The presentations by Jonathan Downie and Maja Magnusson focused on the future of the interpreting industry as well as language services and language technology in the healthcare sector.
After afternoon coffee and cake, we heard two more presentations. Anne-Marie Colliander Lind contemplated whether size matters in the language service industry. The second keynote speaker Ali Jahangiri talked about entrepreneurship, a new beginning and being an outsider. The conference ended with a glass of bubbly and the evening continued with an optional dinner, which offered more opportunities for networking.
How do you boost your language service company’s growth?
Delingua was present at the conference both in the audience and among the speakers. Our CEO Katja Virtanen shared her top tips for growing one’s own language service company, and Jari Herrgård hosted the event. In addition, we were also the conference’s interpreting sponsor. Delingua’s interpreters took care of simultaneous interpreting of the Finnish presentations into English, and they received a lot of praise from the conference attendees.
Katja founded Delingua in 2005. Over the years, we have grown into one of the largest language service providers in Finland. “If I can do this, anyone can,” says Katja, encouraging those in the industry who are looking for growth. Katja’s tips apply to any company, not only in the language service industry. Growing a business is not rocket science. A company must sell its products or services and increase not only its net revenue but also its profitability.
One of the most important insights from Katja’s entrepreneurial path has been the need to hire people who are more talented than you. Good employees facilitate a company’s growth. “Also remember to hold on to your existing customers,” Katja says. The company should primarily focus on customer experience. Growth cannot be achieved if the company is simultaneously losing a large number of customers. At Delingua, our superpower is customer orientation, and we are constantly improving our processes.
Although we don’t yet know the theme for next year’s conference, we will certainly be there to join in the discussions and network. Many thanks to the organisers for an inspiring conference day, and see you again next year!