Looking for digital interpretation solutions for Family and Social Services

The City of Helsinki is inviting companies to develop digital interpretation solutions together with the professionals and clients of the City’s Social Services and Health Care Division. Companies can participate in this innovation challenge by submitting a tender by 26 October.

A significant and growing proportion of the clients of the Social Services and Health Care Division are foreign-language speakers. At the end of 2020, there were 110,930 people with a foreign background living in Helsinki, of whom 80.9% were born abroad and 19.1% in Finland (link in Finnish). This equals 16.9% of the population of the entire city.

Helsinki’s foreign-language population is projected to increase by almost 100,000 people by 2035 (link in Finnish). That would mean 196,000 foreign-language speakers in Helsinki, or 26% of the population. This is why the division is constantly striving to improve its methods of serving foreign-language speakers.

The City of Helsinki’s Family and Social Services deal with foreign-language clients on a daily basis, with whom interpretation is needed either on-site or over the phone. However, interpreters are not always available, even over the phone. The annual interpretation costs are also high for some services, and unforeseen interpretation needs arise on a daily basis in different services. The languages used by clients include Russian, Arabic, Somali, Ukrainian, Estonian, Kurdish and Persian, among others.

What kinds of solutions does the innovation challenge seek?

This innovation challenge aims to test the effectiveness of digital translation solutions in client encounters in selected services of Family and Social Services. One of the participating bodies is the Immigration Unit, which has a large number of foreign-language clients. The pilot will focus on client-oriented situations, where there is a need for a sufficient understanding of the reasons why the client is contacting the service. 

The pilot will not be carried out in situations where an important administrative decision is being made or which involve other similar issues that have a significant impact on the client’s life. The client must be aware that this is a situation where there is a possibility of interpretation errors due to the equipment being tested.

The aim of the pilot is to find out in which situations the translation solution could be helpful in client work and whether a possible wider procurement is necessary. It is also important to consider the accessibility of the digital services in client encounters.

The pilots will take place during spring 2023. The City of Helsinki will procure a maximum of two pilots, with a maximum total price of €50,000 (VAT 0%). The maximum price for a single pilot can be €30,000 (VAT 0%).

The call for tenders and other related documents are available in Finnish on the info page of the call.

To register for the innovation challenge, submit your tender in PDF format by email to sanna.hartman(a)hel.fi by 20:00 on Wednesday 26 October.

Kuva: Jussi Hellsten, City of Helsinki

Want to hear more?

  • Sanna Hartman

  • Senior Advisor
    Health and Wellbeing Services, Health Capital Helsinki Cooperation
    City of Helsinki
    Business Helsinki, Innovation services