Translating Aotearoa


May 2015

Talofa lava!

Last Sunday marked the beginning of Samoan Language Week celebrating the language and culture of Samoan people across New Zealand. With 144,000 people identifying as Samoan according to the 2013 Census, Samoan is now the third most spoken language in New Zealand, and the second in Auckland. Pacific peoples make up almost 8 percent of the population with just under half of those Samoan. Unsurprisingly, government agencies and other stakeholders publishing brochures and pamphlets aimed at ethnic communities in New Zealand very frequently request their translation into Samoan.

Continue reading “Talofa lava!”

Meet Wīremu Haunui, Māori interpreter in Parliament

As a member of the NZSTI Conference organising committee, I recently met up with Wīremu Haunui for a nice kōrero (chat). He is the Māori interpreter in Parliament, and will be talking to Conference guests attending a Beehive tour on Friday 26 June. The article below was published on the Conference’s website. Continue reading “Meet Wīremu Haunui, Māori interpreter in Parliament”

Princess Charlotte’s very posh birth certificate

Most of you will be aware of it: on 2 May 2015, the Duchess of Cambridge gave birth to the newest member of the British royal family, Princess Charlotte. True to tradition, we will use her birth certificate, released on Twitter on 6 May 2015, to illustrate how to carry out a perfect selective translation of birth details.

Princess Charlotte's birth certificateSelective translations are a very specific type of translations that the Translation Service offers to individuals wishing to submit an application to Citizenship or Immigration in New Zealand. The process involves extracting information from original documents and completing standard forms which were developed in consultation with New Zealand citizenship and immigration authorities. Click find out about the selective translation of Princess Charlottes’s very posh birth certificate.

This sample selective translation is part of a series designed to illustrate our guidelines and help you improve your selective translations. Two e-learning modules on this topic are also freely available:

We hope you enjoy these mock translations as much as we enjoy making them.

Disclaimer: Princess Charlotte and/or her parents are not considering moving to New Zealand. If they did, they wouldn’t need apply for a visa or citizenship.

Identity theft and stolen CV: How safe is your web presence?

Many translators will have experienced some sort of translation scam such as:

  • a client who looks like a genuine translation outsourcer and has real assignments but will never pay for them;
  • the translator version of the money stealing scam involving for instance, a potential client offering a steady flow of work if the translator agrees to work with a specific piece of software which the client happens to sell at heavily reduced price – once the tool is bought, the translator never hears from the client ever again.

There are several other types of scams, and I highly recommend reading Translator scam and how to protect yourself from them and Scammers – Love them or hate them?. Generally speaking, if something looks a bit fishy, it probably is. Make sure you google potential clients before accepting work from them or undertaking any financial transactions. Lists of known scammers are regularly published and updated online.

Another type of scam affecting the translation industry specifically targets translation agencies, and consists in individuals posing as real translators using CVs found online. The number of emails I receive from such scammers has dramatically increased over the past year, to such an extent that most of the ‘translators’ offering to work for the Translation Service are now scammers.

Red signs reading 'Fraud alert'
Do you need to review your web presence to identify and mitigate risks?

The vast majority of them are easy to spot: the formatting of the CV and the email is generally quite poor, different fonts are used in the CV (in particular for the email address), the information is inconsistent, the rates offered are very low, the email address is odd, the spelling of the translator’s name shows some variations etc. Even if I’m not able to identify scammers as such, our process which involves completing an application form and a test translation protects us from ever recruiting them.

That being said, this new development in the translation industry entails significant risks for you. Are you fully in control of your web presence? If you are unsure, it might be wise to review your online presence and determine if you’re at risk of identity or CV theft. Marta Stelmaszak at Want Words recommends a number of easy steps to protect yourself. This is well worth reading.

May 2015 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!

With the centenary of Kafka’s Metamorphosis fast approaching, the Guardian‘s WB Gooderham goes through several of its English translations, and discusses their merits and translation strategies to identify the most successful one. Feel free to contact him if you know of any version that hasn’t been included in his list.

The Scotsman reports on yet another translation blunder affecting Gaelic signage in Scotland, with the City Centre becoming a ‘big town unit’.

Translator and blogger Michele Hutchison talks to several editors about editing literary translations to investigate the complicated relationships between translators, editors, and editor-translators.

In a blog post for Marketing Tips for Translators, web-entrepreneur Neil Armstrong shares a few useful tips on online portfolios for translators to showcase their skills, and how to attract more traffic – and potential clients. Do you have your own online portfolio? If not, this may be something worth looking into.

Quill & Quire talks to Luc Bossé, editor at Pow Pow, a French-language comics publisher based in Montreal. The publishing company recently launched a crowdfunding campaign to finance the translation of its books into English.

Let’s celebrate New Zealand Sign Language

The sign for I love you in NZSL

Today marks the beginning of New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) week, where we celebrate one of our official languages, connect with the deaf community, and raise awareness about NZSL. Here’s the first sign for the week:

Go to the NZSL Week’s website for more information, and view this video to learn some more signing.

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