I first joined the Translation Service in 1978 and stayed there for seven years.  In those days it was virtually the only provider of quality translations in New Zealand. Many of the people who worked there seemed to be refugees from the teaching profession, like me. In the early days we used manual typewriters and eventually graduated to electric typewriters, all in an open-plan office.

After three years working in Sydney I came back in 1988 when personal computers were just coming into use. My first work computer was an Apple Mac SE with a 20-megabyte hard drive. (Nowadays I own a Macbook Pro with a 500-gigabyte drive). We eventually changed to an all-Windows system.

The translation industry has also changed radically since the late 1980s with the launch of NZTC and other translation agencies, who have a worldwide client base. The Translation Service still caters mostly for clients in New Zealand, although we now have a worldwide network of freelance translators. Paying overseas contractors would have been too difficult for the system to cope with until a few years ago (it still poses occasional problems). Clients also expect a much higher quality of service than they did years ago.

Over the past year there have been major changes in the Translation Service, which has moved towards a system of producing translations on screen instead of on paper. This is in line with the government policy of providing services online wherever possible. We have started the new year by moving to new premises in the National Archives building, so it will be interesting to see what future changes are in store. Time will tell!