Translating Aotearoa


Word from the manager

Translating Aotearoa

Quintin presented a paper at the 2015 NZSTI Conference which was held in Wellington last June. Here’s the transcript of his presentation.

Continue reading “Translating Aotearoa”

Thanks for coming to the party!

So much has happened since our last newsletter – the NZSTI conference, Diwali, the Japanese and Korean Festivals, our translator gathering on Translation Day and several Pacific Island language weeks celebrating Samoan, Cook Island Maori, Tongan, Tuvaluan, Fijian, Niuean and Tokelauan. Phew!

Our translator gathering was an exciting event and I’d like to personally thank the many translators, who came from near and far to celebrate International Translation Day with us.

We will be sharing some thoughts and photos from the day and we’ll also hear from Fanaura, our Cook Island Maori translator, about what it means to speak Cook Island Maori.

I’m sad to announce that our two administrators Alfonso and Jess have both moved on – Jess has been promoted to a more senior position in the public service while Alfonso has moved to England with his family. Best wishes to you both for an inspiring future ahead! The flipside of this is that we are privileged to welcome Sylvie and Linh onto our team! We’ll be learning more about Linh through her Proust questionnaire.

We have a wonderful, sunny kiwi Christmas to look forward to this year (fingers crossed) so put on some sunscreen, find a nice, relaxing spot on the beach and enjoy some great reading below!


Happy Matariki!

Tēna koutou!

Happy Matariki! Celebration of the true beginning of the New Zealand year begins this month with the heliacal rising of the beautiful constellation of Matariki! The first sighting of Matariki (the Pleiades) in the dawn sky signals that the shortest day and the southern Winter solstice have passed. Just like the European calendar that begins shortly after the northern Winter solstice (21 December), our traditional Māori lunar calendar begins shortly after the southern Winter solstice. This month is packed with New Year’s events:,

Māori and the languages of the Pacific are a cornerstone of the work we carry out at the Translation Service and I hope you also enjoyed Samoan Language Week at the end of last month, celebrating the Samoan language and culture which have become a major part of the cultural tapestry of New Zealand.

In this month’s newsletter, Sandrine will report to us on the translator training course she attended at Auckland University along with Stefan, who have worked together with Claire on a project to help develop the skills and knowledge of our translators.

Happy reading, happy translating and happy Matariki!


The rabbit’s omen

Sunny weekends at the beach are now giving way to shorter days and evenings huddled up in front of our computers or curled up on the couch with our favourite translations. At home, our pet rabbit is getting more-and-more reluctant to run around the garden and is retiring full-time indoors – a clear indication that the weather has turned and that it’ll be Easter soon.

This month’s newsletter will feature our Indonesian translator Sadrach who prides himself on his integrity and the quality of his work – both of which I can personally attest from the high standard of translation work he does.

Our full translation process has changed. Note that this will have no effect on selective translations. Our translation process involves a text being translated by a translator and then revised by a reviser and this will stay the same. However, previously the revised translation would be returned to the translator to accept the reviser’s changes and finalise the translation. The translator will no longer be required to do this in the new process – instead the reviser will read through and finalise the translation as well as provide an assessment of the quality of the translation. Translators can expect to receive feedback on the revised version as well as any assessment that is made on the quality of their translation.

This new process puts more responsibility and emphasis on the quality of the revision and so we will be working closely with our best linguists on the revision process. There will also be a change to the rates we are offering both translators and revisers in order to reflect the change in work required.

On a final note, this year we celebrate the sixty-fifth anniversary of the Translation Service! Our editor, Stefan, has been researching into the history of the Translation Service and the translation industry in New Zealand and will put together an article about what he has discovered. Much has changed since the days of hand-written translations or typing pools!


The newsletter turns one!

Welcome to the first anniversary edition of the newsletter of The Translation Service! We hope you have enjoyed reading the articles as much as we have enjoyed putting them together. This year we are also proud to celebrate one of our longest serving translators, Pravin Patel, who has been working with us for 40 years! Find out more in his Proust questionnaire…

This month, we’ll discuss how we help government agencies get their messages out to New Zealand’s communities through translation and we’ll hear from Shieva who has just completed a secondment writing content for the website – this is a huge project to make information about all government services much easier to find through one location.

We’d also like to announce that we have finally unrolled our on-going translation quality tracking system. In short, this will mean that each translation you provide for our customers will be rated for its quality and we will be able to track quality over time so that our project managers can better able to select the best translators and revisers for each assignment.

On a more sombre note, I would like to reiterate my apologies that our translator gathering was cancelled this year due to the current financial and political environment. In any case, we are still hoping to hold an event later in the year where we can meet each other. We would like to invite you to drop by our office on Mulgrave Street anytime – we would love to see you in person.

Wishing you happy reading and happy translating!


Come and visit

Picture of the Archives New Zealand buildingSummer has given us some fine days here in the capital and welcomed us to our new office at Archives New Zealand. This has brought us closer to the rich textual tapestry of Internal Affairs – Archives New Zealand, the National Library and Government Information Services – the people who guard the books, publications, records, websites and other threads weaving through life in New Zealand. Please come and visit us any time you are in Wellington – we would love to meet you in person and show you around!

This month, we will hear from our dedicated and talented Chinese translator Jing through her Proust questionnaire. We will also hear from Bill who has lived the history of translation in New Zealand and kept abreast of innovations and changes in translation practice and technology over the past 30 years.

A last point to note is that we will be holding our annual translator gathering in Wellington at the beginning of March so pencil in Friday 7 March for this. More details will follow shortly once we have confirmed a venue. It would be great to see you all there!

Happy translating!


Happy holiday season!

It’s December already and a nice hot New Zealand Christmas will be here before we know it! I hope your preparations for the New Year are going well and that you have some time to relax and enjoy a few end-of-year events and Chrismas parties. The Translation Service will be closing for a holiday break – from midday on 24 December through to 2 January. We’ll reopen to the public on Friday 3 January.

The New Year will bring some changes for us. In January, we will be moving premises from Lambton Quay to the National Archives building at 10 Mulgrave Street. This location offers a much better front desk for the public as well as placing us closer to the other teams in Internal Affairs. Note that our email, phone numbers and other contact details will stay the same.

This year, we have been grappling with the ever increasing pressure to maintain the high quality of our translations while providing faster and cheaper and better service. We are looking into multiple ways to do this and over the past few months, we have developed a simple but comprehensive system for keeping track of the quality of every translation job you send us as well as a system for selecting the most appropriately skilled translator for each translation. We’re also looking at the role of the reviser in the translation process as well as how we can ensure revised translations meet the high level of quality that clients expect. I’d welcome any thoughts you might have about our current process. We will send out some more news on this in the New Year.

For now, this is a time to take a break, celebrate our achievements in 2013 and to look forward to a great year ahead! Merry Christmas and best wishes for a happy and successful year of translation in 2014!


Happy New Year!

It’s clearly the beginning of a fresh new year here in Wellington – the sun is out, the streets quiet, the cafés closed and the gyms full.  It seems that it’s now time to launch into the goals that we set ourselves for the new year.

The Translation Service is starting the year with our move from Lambton Quay to the Archives building on Mulgrave Street on 21 January. The new location offers us a much better front desk area for greeting the public and it brings us closer to other parts of Internal Affairs. Please drop by and visit us in our new office whenever you are down this end of Wellington.

This month’s newsletter features Kamolwan, one of our longest-serving Thai translators, as well as a range of links, articles and information. We’d also like to briefly review the role of a reviser since this is a crucial step in ensuring the quality of translations and it is a role that is often misunderstood.

Finally, I’d like to warmly congratulate our editor Stefan on his upcoming wedding to Eddy on 31 January! We all wish you both the very best for your future together and a truly exciting and remarkable wedding in the great outdoors – the Rangipo Desert!


E-learning on its way

It’s November already and we’re coming to the end of a very busy year! This month’s newsletter will kick off with an in-depth interview with Stefan Grand, our newsletter editor. A milestone for the month includes the steady progress that has been made on developing e-Learning modules on various aspects of translation, revision, assessment and other topics that will interest you. Once the content is complete, these will be made available to all translators and revisers working with us – you can read about this in more detail further down in the newsletter. Language Line will also be hosting a free morning workshop on Saturday 16 November which is open to all translators and interpreters. This workshop will focus on effectively marketing your translation and interpreting services and how to give your business a tune-up. Finally, we’ll also look at a coded document and its selective translation along with some tips and tricks on translating numbers.

Happy translating!


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