Translating Aotearoa


February 2015

NZSTI Annual Conference – Call for presentations

Logo of the 2015 Conference of the New Zealand Society of Translators and InterpretersThe New Zealand Society of Translators and Interpreters (NZSTI) has issued a call for presentations for its annual conference, which will be held in Wellington, New Zealand on 27–28 June 2015. In recognition of the 100th commemorations of World War I and the Gallipoli campaign, this year’s theme is ‘Conflict and Communication’.

Submissions for presentations of about 20 minutes duration plus 10 minutes of Q&A or proposals for workshops or panel discussions of 30-60 minutes duration should include a title, an abstract of about 250 words and a brief profile and photograph of the speaker. Proposals should be submitted electronically to the NZSTI Wellington Branch President, Karl Wilson, at The closing date for submissions is 28 March 2015. For more information, visit:

February 2015 News

We all have favourite authors… but do you have favourite translators? Marty Orzio, Chief Creative Officer at Grupo Gallegos, does and writes in Engage:Hispanics to explain why, and how it inspires his daily work.

Larry Taylor, a senior lecturer at the Department of Psychology of Northumbria University reports on The Conversation on the findings of research conducted by a team of scientists from Peking University in China. They have found that differences between Mandarin and English change the way the brain’s networks operate!

Bangladesh’s Dhaka Tribune calls for a boost to translation efforts to support the use of the Bangla language. Most people in Bangladesh ‘need and want to see more works translated into Bangla, not rely on English’.

New York Times’s Nicholas Wade reports on the latest developments of research into language history, and announces that the debate around the originis of the languages of India, Iran and Europe may soon be over. His is a fascinating account of how biology plays a key part in determining the history of languages.

Translating in the cloud

Like many language service providers, The Translation Service uses various computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools like SDL Studio and Wordfast. While their usefulness is rather limited for a large portion of the work we do (think uneditable scanned copies of handwritten documents), they do prove very useful for large translation projects that involve Word documents, PDFs generated from Word files or publications created in InDesign.

As a matter of fact, they allow us to leverage on existing translations using translation memories, improve terminology and phraseology consistency, enhance quality control, and speed up the layout and design of translated publications. The downside is that they tend to be expensive to buy, which means that most of you don’t have your own copy of SDL Studio. Up until now, we’ve been working around the issue by sending out translations in table format, and importing the translations or revisions into SDL Studio ourselves. This time-consuming process has its own risks as we can easily miss out something and create havoc.

Thankfully nothing of the sort has happened so far, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try and find a better solution. It would be unreasonable for us to request all of you to buy SDL Studio or subscribe to its one-year, feature limited Starter edition, especially for those of you who are not full-time professional translators. Rather, we’re considering moving the whole process into the cloud – welcome into the 21st century – and give you access to a free web-based translation tool. The platforms we’ve been investigating include Memsource, Wordbee, XTM, Lingotek and Smartling. While Proz has a dedicated page to CAT tools with a number of useful reviews, we’d like to hear from you. Do any of you have experience in using any of those tools?

The Translation Service, we understand

You’re always a bit surprised when you go through old stuff, and The Translation Service is no exception! We came across some interesting files when we were going through our archives… Did you know that in 2000-2002, TTS ran an advertising campaign on television and radio?

Our slogan was ‘The Translation Service, We Understand’.

Meet the team!

We’ve put together a short e-learning module to introduce The Translation Service and the team to our freelance translators and welcome new ones on board. Many of you are based all around the world, which means that we haven’t been able to meet many of you in person. This module will be a virtual subsitute… until we can meet you in real life!

Click the image below and let us know what you think!

Starting page of the Welcome to The Translation Service module

My Language tells the world who I am (part 3)

This is the last instalment of Fanaura’s account of her mother tongue means to her. She is one of our longest standing Cook Island Maori translators.

The many dialects

Each island of the Cook Islands, with the exception of Atiu, Mauke and Mitiaro, as well as Manihiki and Rakahanga, have their own dialects, particularly of verbs and adjectives.  The exception of course being Pukapuka with a language totally different from the rest of us, but it is called Maori.

Map of the Cook Islands
The many islands of the Cook Islands

Here for example is the translation for the English words “speak”, “talk”, “converse”:

Rarotonga = tuatua, komakoma

Aituaki = autara, autaratara

Mangaia = koma (I think!)

Atiu, Mauke, Mitiaro = araara

Manihiki, Rakahanga = kauta

Penrhyn = akaiti (the ti has a si sound)

Pukapuka = talatala

Here is another example of a translated English sentence:

“Thank you very much indeed.”

Rarotonga = Meitaki maata ua atu ei.

Aituaki = Meitaki atupaka ua atu ei.

Mangaia = Meitaki ngao ua atu ei.

Atiu, Mauke, Mitiaro = Meitaki ranuinui ua atu ei.

Manihiki, Rakahanga = Meitaki (I’ve forgotten!) ua atu ei.

Penrhyn = Meitaki ua atu ei.

Pukapuka = Atawai wolo ye manaki (ye is pronounced with a ‘th”)

Naturally therefore, with my Mum and Dad, it was the Aitutakian dialect for us, but away from them, especially during the 5 years when my Dad was sent to Rarotonga to study at the Takamoa Theological College, it was the Rarotongan dialect for me at school, at play, when swimming with friends, at Brownies/Girl Guides, at Sunday School, and so on. So during our 5 years in Rarotonga, I spoke 2 dialects, Rarotongan and Aitutakian.

If one of the 3 of us unwittingly used a Rarotongan word, e.g. “akara” (“look”) instead of “akatau”, the other two would start laughing and mocking and teasing the now shamed person!  This went on all the time with me and my parents which made sure for me that I did not lose my Aitutakian dialect while we were in Rarotonga.

However, my father did tell me very firmly, that speaking in Aitutakian at a gathering of the people of Aituaki was fine, but at meetings of the Cook Islands people, I must speak in Rarotongan as that is the dialect that everyone understands.  Our Cook Islands Maori Bible is written in the Rarotongan dialect.

So all my life, I have used the Rarotongan dialect when needed, which includes of course doing translation work into Cook Islands Maori, otherwise, it is Aitutakian for me all the way!

175th anniversary of the Treaty of Waitangi: why translation matters

We’re finally back in business… and getting ready for Waitangi Day! January seems to have flown by so quickly, with summer holidays, gigantic and stressful projects, and all the works. In any case, we hope that you all had a great start to the New Year and are full of energy to take translation to a whole new level in 2015.

Logo of the 175th Waitangi Day celebrationsThose of you who aren’t based in New Zealand may not be aware, but tomorrow is an important day for New Zealand. The 6th of February 2015 will be the 175th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, New Zealand’s founding document, written both in English and Māori.

The Treaty is an agreement between the British Crown and about 540 Māori rangatira (chiefs). There were growing numbers of British migrants arriving in New Zealand in the late 1830s, and plans were made to settle the land extensively. Around this time there were large-scale land transactions with Māori, unruly behaviour by some settlers and signs that the French were interested in annexing New Zealand. The British government was initially unwilling to act, but it eventually realised that annexing the country could protect Māori, regulate British subjects and secure commercial interests.

Lieutenant-Governor William Hobson had the task of securing British sovereignty over New Zealand. He relied on the advice and support of, among others, James Busby, the British Resident in New Zealand. The Treaty was prepared in just a few days. Missionary Henry Williams and his son Edward translated the English draft into Māori overnight on 4 February. About 500 Māori debated the document for a day and a night before it was signed on 6 February.

Hobson and others stressed the Treaty’s benefits while playing down the effects of British sovereignty on rangatiratanga (chiefly authority). Reassured that their status would be strengthened, many chiefs supported the agreement. About 40 chiefs, starting with Hōne Heke, signed the Māori version of the Treaty on 6 February. By September, another 500 had signed the copies of the document that were sent around the country. Some signed while remaining uncertain; others refused or had no chance to sign. Almost all signed the Māori text. The Colonial Office in England later declared that the Treaty applied to Māori tribes whose chiefs had not signed. British sovereignty over the country was proclaimed on 21 May 1840.

The Treaty is a broad statement of principles on which the British and Māori made a political compact to found a nation state and build a government in New Zealand. The document has three articles. In the English version, Māori cede the sovereignty of New Zealand to Britain; Māori give the Crown an exclusive right to buy lands they wish to sell, and, in return, are guaranteed full rights of ownership of their lands, forests, fisheries and other possessions; and Māori are given the rights and privileges of British subjects.

The Treaty in Māori was deemed to convey the meaning of the English version, but there are important differences. Most significantly, the word ‘sovereignty’ was translated as ‘kawanatanga’ (governance). Some Māori believed they were giving up government over their lands but retaining the right to manage their own affairs. The English version guaranteed ‘undisturbed possession’ of all their ‘properties’, but the Māori version guaranteed ‘tino rangatiratanga’ (full authority) over ‘taonga’ (treasures, which may be intangible). Māori understanding was at odds with the understanding of those negotiating the Treaty for the Crown, and as Māori society valued the spoken word, explanations given at the time were probably as important as the wording of the document.

Different understandings of the Treaty have long been the subject of debate. From the 1970s especially, many Māori have called for the terms of the Treaty to be honoured. Some have protested – by marching on Parliament and by occupying land. There have been studies of the Treaty and a growing awareness of its meaning in modern New Zealand.

It is common now to refer to the intention, spirit or principles of the Treaty. The Treaty of Waitangi is not considered part of New Zealand domestic law, except where its principles are referred to in Acts of Parliament. The exclusive right to determine the meaning of the Treaty rests with the Waitangi Tribunal, a commission of inquiry created in 1975 to investigate alleged breaches of the Treaty by the Crown. More than 2000 claims have been lodged with the tribunal, and a number of major settlements have been reached.

Find out more on the Treaty and on what’s happening around the country to mark this date.

You can view the original Treaty at Archives New Zealand in Wellington. If you go and view it, let us know! We’re on level 2 of the same building.

Source: ‘The Treaty in brief’, URL:, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 5-Aug-2014.

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