Bill was born in Wanganui, grew up mostly in Taihape, and did a B.Sc. degree at Victoria University Wellington before spending four years as a meteorologist. After that he moved to Auckland to do a language degree in Russian, Chinese and Japanese, and graduated with an M.A. in Japanese.
He spent one year training as a secondary school teacher before landing a job with the Translation Service in 1978, in the days of manual typewriters. He worked alongside a number of translators including Patrick King and John Jamieson, but left in 1985 to work as a Japanese translator for Fujitsu Australia Limited in Sydney.
Bill rejoined the Translation Service in 1988 and has since completed 25 years’ service, during which time the translation industry has changed beyond recognition.
Q. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
A. Relaxing peacefully in a motel room looking out over Lake Taupo.
Q. What is your greatest fear?
A. Environmental disaster (manmade or otherwise).
Q. Which person do you most admire?
A. The late Sir Peter Blake.
Q. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
A. Putting off things I really should get into.
Q. What is the trait you most deplore in others?
A. Refusing to see differing points of view.
Q. What is your greatest extravagance?
A. My next purchase (an iPad when I already have an iPhone and iPod Touch).
Q. On what occasions do you lie?
A. I sometimes remain silent rather than tell people something they might not want to hear.
Q. What makes you happiest?
A. Driving roads I’ve never driven before.
Q. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
A. I would be more careful with money.
Q. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
A. I once translated two pages of legislation from Romanian, required urgently. The panel reviser only found one minor grammatical error.
Q. If you died and came back as a person or thing, what would it be?
A. Perhaps a tui singing on a cabbage tree.
Q. What is your most treasured possession?
A. My camera.
Q. Who are your heroes in real life?
A. People who live with conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and show incredible courage in their everyday lives.
Q. What is it that you most dislike?
A. Political posturing.
Q. What is your motto?
A. If at first you don’t succeed, skydiving is probably not for you (not original unfortunately).
We feature a staff member or one of our freelance translators every month. The featured profile includes a picture, a small biography and the person’s answers to a light version of the Proust Questionnaire.
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