Sweden’s DigitalTolk Awarded Several Multiple-Year Language Solution Contracts

DigitalTolk Wins Multiple Contracts

Sweden-based interpreting company DigitalTolk has started 2024 with big wins in several tenders across Sweden. The language services provider (LSP) has been around since 2015 and has previously been chosen among multiple bidders for these types of regional contracts, which usually grant points to bidders on varying criteria, instead of just price.

The company, under the management of CEO and Co-founder Virpal Singh, here on SlatorPod in late 2022, continues to focus on the diverse Swedish market. Using an automated interpreting platform, the company claims it can provide remote interpreting services in seconds. This has been especially important for the LSP’s gains in the healthcare space, where it can meet emergency services needs.

The latest awards for DigitalTolk come from a mix of new and returning clients. CEO Singh attributes the LSP’s ongoing success in part to the company’s ability to meet the quality criterion in every tender where it was a priority, given the tenders’ system of points. 

Västernorrland

Västernorrland is a region in the mid north of Sweden with a population of about 250k. DigitalTolk has had a contract with the region’s government since 2019, with the latest iteration becoming effective in December 2023 and worth about SEK 35m (USD 3.3m) over a four-year period. 

One main reason for contract continuity for the state is interpreter availability and booking flexibility, according to Singh. But other elements also played a role in the selection process, he added, including interpreter training/competence and job satisfaction. Singh also told Slator that DigitalTolk “adheres to comprehensive standards, ensuring high-quality service in every aspect of our operations.”

Halland

Halland is a state in the south of Sweden with a population of approximately 329k. DigitalTolk has had contracts with the Halland regional government since 2018, with subsequent contracts awarded, most recently one that became effective in January 2024. The new contract is worth about SEK 70m (USD 6.6m) over a four-year period.

This regional tender has different requirements as far as technology, including innovative features like automated text messages in the patients’ native languages, language resources, and a central line to reach interpreters, offered Singh. Other differences in the Halland tender, compared to other regional contract requirements, were the availability of interpreters in less commonly used languages, healthcare interpreters, and client testimonials.

Blekinge

Blekinge is a state in the south of Sweden with a population of approximately 160k. DigitalTolk has also held a contract with this region’s government since 2019, and Singh attributes the renewal to the ability of DigitalTolk to adjust its services specifically to needs for additional flexibility and speed of service.

This latest contract is worth approximately SEK 44m over a four-year period and it became effective in January 2024.

Skåne

One of the most populated regions in Sweden is Skåne, located in the south, with about 1.3m residents. DigitalTolk has been the exclusive provider of interpreting services in Skåne since 2020, commented Singh. The initial contract required about 250,000 interpreting assignments per year, a volume that the LSP had not handled until that time. As a result, the agency had to grow fast and meet demand across almost 200 languages. 

This most recent contract with the Skåne government represents an additional four years in services from DigitalTolk that go beyond traditional interpreting to include AI interpretation services, in-language messaging, and other services. The contract is worth SEK 1.5bn (USD 143.5m) and it became effective in January 2024.

“These contracts extend beyond traditional interpretation services, introducing us to new, exciting domains. This diversification enhances DigitalTolk’s market position, transforming us from a mere interpretation agency into a provider of a comprehensive array of digital language solutions.” — Virpal Singh

Looking to the Future

Public sector contracts are key to DigitalTolk’s business. “These contracts extend beyond traditional interpretation services, introducing us to new, exciting domains. This diversification enhances DigitalTolk’s market position, transforming us from a mere interpretation agency into a provider of a comprehensive array of digital language solutions,” commented the CEO.

Regarding possible expansion beyond organic growth, Singh explained that even though the LSP has not engaged in mergers and acquisitions (M&A) to date, they are open to exploring them moving forward, and appointed an employee to focus exclusively on evaluating potential M&A opportunities.

Singh also told Slator that the company’s accomplishments in the Swedish market “have laid a solid foundation for our aspirations beyond national borders. Although our international expansion is in its early stages, we view it as a pivotal avenue for future growth.”

Technical Solution

DigitalTolk started as a technical solution to interpreter shortages. Singh, who has a technical background, explained to Slator that DigitalTolk is investing heavily in developing a unified platform to offer a comprehensive suite of language services. The AI-enabled platform will facilitate services that include interpreter booking, accessing language resources, in-language messaging, and translation (requirements listed in multiple tenders).

The current focus in the tender requirements “validates our investment in R&D since 2017 toward innovative services that are now reaching a maturity and quality level suitable for the critical nature of many of our assignments,” said Singh.