Translators Associations Europe: SFÖ

Good professional practice

Translators Association Europe: SFÖThe Swedish Association of Professional Translators (Sveriges Facköversättarförening, SFÖ) was founded in 1990. It is Sweden's largest organisation of technical and specialised translators and translation companies. Nowadays, it has over 1,000 individual members and almost 30 corporate members.

One of the main focuses of the association is on keeping a “good professional practice” and to foment the “exchange of knowledge and experience between professional translators”. The members of this translation association work with many different languages (source and target) in a wide variety of subjects. There is a member database available for anyone who is interested in hiring the services of a translator. All of the names shown correspond to people who abide by the association’s code of professional conduct and who regularly attend seminars and courses in an effort to continuously develop their professional skills.

SFÖ is committed to raising the profile of the translator’s profession within society, at the same time as it endeavours to “strengthen the dialogue between translation companies and individual translators, for example through corporate membership”. It is an active mission to influence the development of the profession and the industry which it’s part of. An example of the effort is the emphasis given to cooperation with universities and colleges, authorities and organisations that share SFÖ’s goals. They are proud to say they are “a recognised voice in public debate and are often consulted by government authorities on linguistic issues”.

As a member of the Swedish translators association, you are allowed to attend the annual conference at a reduced cost. This also applies to the insurance deal the SFÖ makes available to its members in partnership with Allians Försäkringsmäklare, as well as to the legal advice you may obtain from Alago Advokatfirma AB, another of the association’s partners. Members get 6 issues per annum of the Facköversättaren journal. You may also get a discount when subscribing to Språktidningen or when buying TNC glossaries. Great deals are also available for books and software (during conferences). Depending on the membership category, you may as well be featured in the association’s online database. Moreover, there are discounts available for international conferences as well.

If you choose to be a member of this translation association, you will be able to make contact with other professionals, with a variety of language combinations and specialising fields. You can also attend numerous mini-conferences held all over Sweden. Local or regional meetings will allow you to network, whereas the courses that have been specifically tailored for translators will make you more skilled and better prepared. There are several subject groups and language groups that you may join.

SFÖ has a set of discussion forums, where members can see their doubts answered. The Swedish organisation also offers the chance to obtain a mentor who will help you in your professional role. Otherwise, you may as well be a mentor yourself.

There are five membership categories available: Qualified, Associate, Student, Corporate and Subscriber. The fee is payable at the same time as you submit the application form. It will be repaid as soon as possible if you are not granted SFÖ membership. The service charge is tax-deductible.


Once every year, SFÖ organises a three-day conferences in a different region of Sweden. Other than this, one-day mini-conferences are also held in Autumn, under the same conditions as the main conditions, in one or more of the five Swedish regions: North, South, East, West and Western Svealand. There is also an international group that hosts mini-conferences. Past events have been set in the UK and in Germany.

SFÖ’s annual conference is the translators association’s main single event. Recently, “it has developed into an occasion when the many different types of people active in the translation industry have an opportunity to meet and share knowledge and experience”. Approximately 400 participants get together during the three days “intensive activity, covering every conceivable aspect of the translator's everyday existence”. The event comprises presentations, debates and workshops on all subjects concerning language, as well as “CAT Fights”, a session about “rival computer-aided translation tools” and sessions on translation theory and ergonomics.

SFÖ stresses that “the conferences feature fun and entertainment, and many members view the conference as one of the key occasions in the year to meet colleagues, friends and clients in a relaxed setting”.


This has been a important part of the Swedish translation association’s activities since its foundation. It provides new members with the chance to obtain support from more experienced members, who are willing to share their expertise. The SFÖ has a Mentoring Group, which has a devised a mentoring programme sent to new members as part of their welcome pack.

Other than this, there is also material to assist beginning translators, mentors and mentees. Tips for New Translators (Goda råd till nyblivna översättare) is a handbook aimed at anyone who is new on the job. It comprises answers to the most frequent questions in the industry. It can be downloaded free of charge. The reason why it is only available in a web-based version is so that it can be regularly updated.

Agreement Between Mentors and Mentees (Överenskommelse mellan mentorer och adepter) has been made for mentors and mentees “who are about to start building a relationship”. If has tips on everything necessary to make sure mentoring is rewarding for both parties as possible.

Keep in mind that Swedish, a North Germanic language, is spoken by approximately 10 million people, mainly in Sweden but also in parts of Finland, especially along its coast and on the Åland islands. It is largely mutually intelligible with Norwegian and Danish.

When you fill-in your profile details to become a Lexis member, always choose your mother tongue as your working language. Lexis – Connections with meaning

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