My first time in Malmö, small, clean and cold. Flying via Copenhagen seems to be everyone’s normal. Don’t know what to expect of a Nordic forum 2016, except from Anne-Marie’s friendly face.

My N T I F experience started with the conference dinner and it was great. For those outside the localization industry, N T I F is a charming annual conference: The Nordic Translation Industry Forum (click here to visit their But now allow me to dig into my memories and give you a lesser told story of Dragoman.

As I said, the dinner was great. Friends, new and old, kept me good company, but was it the weather, the music or wine, or the tune of an unfamiliar language, I recalled my days in the Swedish Research Insititute in Istanbul. Back in 1997, I was attending a one-year tour guiding course, and yet studying differential equations to complete my maths degree in between my tours around Turkey. (I got my mathematics diploma in six years)

I was fascinated by the rock-cut tombs at multiple locations in Anatolia and when my professors asked me my preferred topic as a dissertation, I chose ancient burial traditions. Google was just founded, Yahoo and Altavista were messing around with limited publicly available resources. My dial-up access to internet lead me to University of Lund, where several professors have been publishing about rock tombs in Anatolia. They recommended me to check with the Swedish Consulate in Istanbul. Luckily, Swedish Research Institute allowed me to use their library. The small building I was welcomed into was called “the Dragoman House”.

The Swedish Palace, or the Consulate General Building of Sweden is one of the oldest properties of Sweden abroad dating back to 1700s. Dragoman house is a humbler building to the left of the front garden. It publishes books on humanities and social sciences, an annual journal called Dragomanen besides hosting intellectually situmulating conferences every now and then.

Dragoman, what is that? I did not know what it meant! The word was lost in history. And I learned it from a Swed; Dragoman means a Royal Ottoman Interpreter. It was an official title, carried by very influental figures for four centuries. Little did I know that one day I would start a translation business and choose Dragoman as my brand. Etimology of Dragoman reveals that the word has been in circulation ever since the Akkadians. It is as old as the Tower of Babylon.

Several years later I became a popular interpreter and had the chance to serve Swedish consulate. The then Consul General was Mr. Ingmar Karlsson, who gifted me a bunch of consular publications, including story of Dragomans. I then furthered my research and learned that some other consulates had Dragoman Houses in their gardens, too, and there were Dragoman Offices in the Dolmabahce Palace, the last palace, of the Ottoman Sultans.

Fascinating stories of Dragoman officers have given me enough reasons to choose Dragoman as a company title. But I must get back to the NTIF, now.

We were actually heading for the EUATC General Meeting with my colleague Rafet, Owner of Referans Ceviri, a Turkish LSP, and Chairman of Turkish Association of Translation Companies. Why not arrive one day early and see what’s cooking in the north? (The EUATC meeting was short, smooth and relevant. Happy to be a part of it.)

I loved NTIF, for many reasons. The North I experienced is great my friends and I shall come again. There is a thriving interpreting market, come and meet colleagues if interpreting is one of your key offerings just like my Dragoman. I understand we have one big thing in common – the refugees – and I will be happy to assist local authorities and LSPs with our qualified remote interpreters (both RSI and VRI).

The North is great my friends because they know how to party. Oh my God! Music, dances and drinks, always number one.

The North is great my friends because the conference bag comes with a bottle of champagne, yes!

The North is great my friends, because the lectures very delightfully chosen and vividly delivered. You may find yourself starting in one track and then jumping to the next just because both sound so good and you want to maximize your appetite.

The North is great my friends, discover it yourself next year (I believe there will be one more).