The #KIELI2023 conference, organised by Finnish Language Service Providers (SKY) on 8 September, gave us a chance to hear the most inspiring speeches about the importance of accessibility and how companies apply accessibility principles to their operations.
The theme of this year’s conference was accessibility. The topics discussed included, among other things, different language services related to accessibility and how to make a difference with clear language and smooth customer service. Moreover, we gained insights into learning Finnish and integrating into Finnish culture and society, and learned about accessibility and language services from the perspective of a deaf person.
Speakers at the conference included Genelec’s Managing Director Siamäk Naghian, communications and accessibility expert Eeva Öörni from Posti, Nimdzi Insights’s CEO Josef Kubovsky, and musician Marko Vuoriheimo, also known as Signmark. In addition, there was an interesting panel discussion with language service customers, who talked about the services they need, as well as presentations by language service providers that offer accessibility services.
The moderator of the conference was Delingua’s Technology Solutions Manager Jari Herrgård. Delingua was the conference’s Morning Coffee sponsor.
Accessibility benefits everyone, not only a few
Siamäk Naghian’s passionate speech addressed the importance of language in a new home country. In his presentation, Naghian highlighted how words often cannot be translated directly. A deep understanding of Finland and Finnish people is built through the Finnish language.
In his presentation, Naghian also referred to J. V. Snellman’s view that language is not only a tool for shaping ideas, but that the thinking of the whole nation is built into its common language.
Eeva Öörni’s speech delved into what accessibility is and why the need for clear communications is so important today. In Öörni’s opinion, factors such as the deterioration of literacy, the increasing prevalence of superficially glancing through texts, equality, accessibility requirements and demographic changes have forced us to think about language from a completely new point of view.
The need for clear language increases with digitalisation and, at the same time, the significance of language experts increases. The accessibility and usability of services are central to a smooth customer experience, and companies should regard investing in text work as a significant competitive advantage. Text work is a concrete and fast way to influence the customer experience.
Words have a huge significance
From the day’s speeches and presentations, everyone can draw lessons and inspiration for their own work. It was great to get a chance to network with experts from different fields and hear how much good work companies and other organisations in different sectors do to promote accessibility.
As Josef Kubovsky said in his presentation stressing the huge significance of words:
“Words matter. Words carry significance, influencing how we perceive things. They can be the key to building trust or creating distance. Our language should constantly adapt to our evolving understanding and embrace of diverse groups of people.”