Translating Aotearoa


December 2014

Happy holiday season!

The Department of Internal Affairs wishes you a joyous festive season and a happy New Year

With the end of the year approaching fast, we’d like to take stock of yet another successful year. 2014 was a tremendous year for The Translation Service.

In addition to our usual day-to-day translations and projects, we carried out numerous high-profile projects such as the translation into Chinese of the Government Whey Inquiry report and the translations of messages and information to families affected by the Christchurch earthquakes, we launched this new blog (let us know if you have any feedback), and we developed new training and e-learning initiatives. We wouldn’t have been able to do all this without the help of our freelance translators and revisers!

The Translation Service team wishes you a very happy holiday season and a restful break. See you all in 2015!

December 2014 news

This is a brief review of translation and language news from around the world, along with the links to the relevant content. Let us know if you come across interesting online content!

The media have recently been going ‘nuts’ on the nut incident that happened on Korean Airlines last week. Victor Mair of Language Log, a blog maintained by a team based at the Institute for Research in Cognitive Science at the University of Pennsylvania, writes about nuts and peanuts, and their different meanings in American English and Korean.

Are you involved in the publishing industry? You can apply for Creative Europe’s Literary Translation fund, and get up to 100,000 euros for the translation, production and promotion of 3-10 European works of fiction.

Gizmodo had hands-on experience of Skype Translator, which aims at ‘breaking down the global language barrier’. The results don’t really meet the goal, but technology is developing very fast in that area.

Fiona Macdonald of the BBC introduces Ella Frances Sanders’s book ‘Lost in Translation’. The author illustrated 50 words that have very specific meanings in languages around the world. But are they really untranslatable?

The mysterious language… of a washing machine

Mox is a young but well educated translator. Two PHDs, six languages… and he hardly earns the minimum wage. Find out more about Mox’s adventures on his blog.

Comic strip showing parents looking over their baby staring at a washing machine: 'Isn't that cute? Baby Mox can spend hours staring at the washing machine!'  The bay thinks 'What a mysterious language! I'm sure that I can learn it if I stay here long enough.'

My language tells the world who I am (part 2)

Fanaura, one of our Cook Island Maori translators, shares what her mother tongue means to her and why she works as a translator. Here’s the second part of her account.

From that day when my mother instructed me never to speak but Maori when we were together, as well as with family members and friends whenever I met them, what she said has remained with me, that my language determines who I am, and it identifies me from my friends who spoke a different language.  I was also able, and still do so today, to express Picture of a carved wood figure from the Cook Islandsmyself for who I am through the many songs, hymns, chants, legends, quotations of my Maori heritage, and so on and so forth.

Today, while the older generation of Cook Island Maori people are holding fast to our mother tongue, our first and most important means of identity, very sadly, the younger generations are lacking in the desire to be of the same calibre.  In particular are those who are married to other ethnic group members and therefore find it easier to use English to communicate more easily within their family circle.  This includes my own two sons who have Papa’a (English) wives.

As for the many publications which I have translated for the Department of Internal Affairs, I was determined to make sure that what I translate will be understood clearly and easily by our people, so they are not left confused because of the use of a wrong word, or incorrect spelling, or a badly constructed sentence.  I do translation work and will continue to do so, for the joy of knowing that I can do it to the best of my ability for the sake of our people, rather than for the amount that I am paid for doing it.  Money comes and goes, but one’s language is only kept within one’s life, when you hold on to it with pride and joy.

We celebrated our “Epetoma o te Reo Maori Kuki Airanai” in Tokoroa by having a variety of activities including:

  • a special Cook Island Maori church service held at 9am on Sunday 3 August, to declare the “Epetoma” opened for our church, the St. Luke’s Pacific Islands Presbyterian parish, before the usual main combined church service at 11am;
  • Cook Island Maori language lessons taught at Tokoroa High School by one of the Cook Island Maori teachers who teaches at Tokoroa High;
  • public performances by the two secondary schools of Tokoroa, Forest View High School and Tokoroa High at their schools as well as by our two Cook Islands Maori ECE Centres or “Punanga o te Reo Maori Kuki Airani” (Fortress of our Reo Maori Kuki Airani);
  • displays and sale of Cook Island Maori arts and craft and umu cooked food at the St. Luke’s Presbyterian Church premises;
  • a special closing Cook Island Maori service on Sunday 10 August with a special feast following the service.

There were other celebration programmes as well conducted by the much older generation of our people, which were to be expected, but the ones done by the young ones were the ones I was taken up with as one of the means of helping them to hold on to what is totally and completely theirs.

I will continue to do all I can to help make sure that my Maori language which tells the rest of the world who I am will remain for generations to come, despite the very drastic forecast that many languages are doomed to be lost in the future.

To be continued…


How language savvy is your organisation?

Question marksWe recently did a presentation at Maritime New Zealand along with Language Line on the relevance of interpreting and translation services to their organisation. Find out more here.

Busy times and great achievements

December is always a busy time

For some reason, everyone wants everything done before Christmas. That means that the weeks leading to the holiday season are always the busiest of the year. If you add all the social functions, the shopping frenzy etc., it can become a rather trying period. It is also a period of great achievements.

Those of you who are based in New Zealand probably heard of the Government Inquiry into the whey incident, whose report was presented to Parliament this week. Thanks to the great work of Amy, Jing, Lisa, Sanying, Li He, and Vincent, we successfully completed its translation into Chinese within a short timeframe. It was published online today.

Quintin and Amy away on leave

Quintin and Amy are both away on leave, and will both return to the office on 5 January. Stefan is acting manager while Quintin is traveling around the South Island.

Shieva leaving on secondment, again

As soon as we get used to having her back in the office she leaves again. Shieva is going on another 3-month secondment to the team to pursue her interest in web writing. Check out what they’re up to.

What are your plans?

Are you planning leave in the upcoming two months? Please let us know if you’ll be away and for how long so that we can update our register. Also, are your contact details up-to-date? Please double-check with us if you’re not sure.

Do you have any news that you would like to share with us? Contact us and we will publish it in the next issue!


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