Advancing accessible technology is a major step towards integration. This is why we are developing and testing the real-time translator SHO – enabling friends to talk to each other in their mother tongue – with an instant voice translation.

We carry it in our pockets everyday. We feel lost without it. It’s the same in Damascus, Danderyd and Umeå. It’s often accused of being antisocial. On the bus it creates an invisible bubble around every passenger. BUT the phone can and should be something that brings us together.

As an immigrant in Sweden, it is nice to have a native Swede to talk to, but doing so is not always that easy. One of the barriers is the language. Another is a context where you can meet people.

The insight that together, we can break the language barrier and create new and interesting meetings sparked the SHO initiative. Behind the initiative is Tele2, Nokia and Reach for Change, with the help of technology from Microsoft. We are convinced that our technical skills combined with our social platform can break new grounds.

Together we can make a difference!



Tala is one of the girls who have been testing the service with her newly found friend Cornelia during the fall. Two years ago, at the age of 18, she came to Sweden from Syria. Here is her story about how she experienced the language barrier during her first years, and what she dreams about in the future.


When I first came to Sweden it was difficult to communicate with people and to meet Swedish people. You kind of loose your identity when you can’t communicate in the same language. So in the beginning I only met people from my area, but when you get that first connection it gets much easier to get to know more Swedish youth.

For those who have difficulties in learning languages the service could really help to start a life in Sweden.

Now I have a lot of Swedish friends and in the future I would like to continue my studies within economy or bio medicine analysis.

Language translation is increasingly needed in our everyday life. The text-to-text machine translation is not enough and for that reason Nokia is taking steps to make translated speech-to-speech calls available as easy as any call today. Today this translation capability works between languages such as English, French, German, Arabic, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Russia and Chinese.

The translation technology making this possible comes from Microsoft. Nokia enabled the service connectivity to make it possible on Tele2’s network.

The use of translation is as easy as normal call- just identify the translation language when dialing. In comparison with similar services this one stands out, as you don’t have to install any external software application or hardware. All you need is any phone number and your phone.

At the moment this is not a commercially launched solution, but our hope is to be able to provide this to those who need it the most without having a third person between you and your friends with no common language.