In its press release published on 13 March, the Finnish Association of Translators and Interpreters (SKTL)
commented on the position of subcontractors in competitive tendering processes related to translation
services. Finnish Language Service Providers (SKY) welcomes all discussion about practices in the industry
and sees it as positive that all participants in the value chain contribute to the development of operations
and the functionality of the value chain as a whole. However, some comments should be made regarding
the wording of the press release.
First of all, the press release refers to language service provider companies with the term välitystoimisto
(go-betweens), which does not correspond with SKY’s view of the operations of our member companies.
We do not regard language service providers as passive intermediaries but rather as crucial parties in the
language service value chain. The added value created by language service providers comes, first and
foremost, from coordinating concrete service production activities and turning them into a meaningful
service package, which provides the customer with a centralised communications channel and enables
efficient quality management. This coordination and quality management role is highly significant because,
in practice, it is usually impossible for an individual freelance translator or small company to participate in
extensive competitive tendering processes alone. Naturally, this does not mean that SKY would not
recognise the importance of subcontractors as part of the value chain.
Secondly, SKTL’s press release could be understood to claim that subcontractor names are collected into
tenders as “dummy buffer company” lists and that the actual work performances would be acquired
elsewhere, potentially under poorer terms and conditions. If this really was the intended meaning, SKY
does not recognise it as descriptive of the operations of our member companies. Naturally, there are many
ways to conduct business, also in the language service industry. However, SKY finds it unfortunate if
companies that may operate unethically spoil the reputation of the entire industry. Our view is that, as a
rule, language service providers operate in a manner that would pass even the most critical review. Quality-
conscious operations that are fair and optimal for all parties is definitely the direction that SKY is pursuing.
It is self-evident that language service practitioners defend their interests; SKY is not criticising this. In a
highly competitive situation, reaching terms and conditions that would be optimal for all parties is not
always easy but it is certainly possible. It requires that each participant in the value chain does their share
and also takes the needs of other participants into account.
Finnish Language Service Providers (SKY)