Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL): 15 years of partnership in health care translations

Logo og Finnish institute for health and welfare

As a significant national actor, the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) produces a lot of information and materials that require translation into several different languages. The materials can be reports, bulletins, website content, statements or instructions intended for professional use or the general public. The difficulty of these texts varies from easy-to-read, general information intended for citizens to demanding expert-level texts.

Materials are produced on a continuous basis and many require translation. Lingsoft’s solid knowledge and experience with social and health care sector terminology effectively supports THL's multilingual communications and ensures high-quality translation work. An extensive network of translators means that Lingsoft can find a suitable translator even when the schedule is tight.

Lingsoft has been providing THL with translations since 2009, either as one of several suppliers or as the sole supplier. Over the years, translation cooperation – such as the range of language pairs and services – has expanded and developed. The advantage of long-term partnership is the fact that the parties learn to know each other well during that time. Over a period of nearly 15 years, THL's communications have also changed. Today, for example, video production plays a more important role in communications than it did 10 years ago. When using online communications in today’s world, it is important to consider the accessibility of online services – both linguistically and technically. The translation agreement includes subtitling for videos in all required languages as an additional service.

One of THL's key duties involves communicating about health and safety issues. This was particularly important during the coronavirus pandemic that began in 2020. The situation changed rapidly, which meant that THL had to be able to communicate quickly. In March 2020, Lingsoft established an express translation service for rapid response to crisis situations. This service prioritised urgent press releases and delivered translations on a faster schedule.

The pandemic demonstrated the importance of rapid communications, so the new tendering process included a greater focus on preparedness. The additional services in the translation agreement between THL and Lingsoft now include on-call translation services for weekday evenings and weekends in crisis situations. In this case, multilingual crisis communications can be handled without delay. Another additional services is language consultation, which may include a language or terminology check. For example, language consultation is used when finalising translations of press releases if there has been a last-minute change to the initial text. 

“The opportunity to quickly ask for little things, terms or the translation of a few lines into Swedish is a valuable addition to the service, because THL has not had its own translators for years. We need a light and flexible service to meet smaller needs”, 
says Maria Kuronen, Publications Manager responsible for the tendering of translation services.