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About translation and interpreting services

If you have never purchased translation or interpreting services, it may be difficult to know where to start. Below you will find information about translation and interpreting in Aotearoa New Zealand and about how to achieve a high-quality outcome for you or your organisation.

What translators and interpreters do

Both translators and interpreters transfer messages from one language to another.

Translators work with the written word. They work with a variety of texts, such as official documents, manuals, websites, books, brochures and audiovisual material, and generally specialise in selected fields like healthcare, legal, marketing or technical translation. Translators also work as reviewers and editors, subtitlers, post-editors, terminologists and copywriters. Professional translators are not only highly-skilled linguists but also experts in their areas of specialisation. Most translators translate from one or more foreign languages into their native language.

Interpreters work in oral communication, for example at the hospital, the courts, at conferences and business meetings and in community settings. They work in person, via video or telephone and interpret simultaneously or consecutively. Many interpreters specialise in particular sectors and are familiar with specialist terminology.

Professional translators and interpreters generally enter the profession after graduating from a translation or interpreting programme at a university. Translation and interpreting require different skills and therefore different training. Being bilingual does not mean one has the skills to translate or interpret effectively. Professional translators and interpreters have the cultural and technical knowledge to communicate effectively across languages and cultures in a range of specific contexts.

Translators and interpreters in Aotearoa New Zealand

New Zealand is a highly diverse country, with Auckland being one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world. Translators and interpreters in Aotearoa work with widely spoken languages such as French, Mandarin or Spanish, Te Reo Māori, major Pacific languages such as Samoan or Tongan as well as minority languages such as Kiribati or Igbo.

Translators provide official document translation for New Zealand government departments such as Immigration NZ and NZQA, the courts as well as businesses trading internationally.  Interpreters work with the courts, DHBs, the police, businesses and more.

NZSTI translators and interpreters

As the professional association for practicing translators and interpreters, NZSTI promotes and ensures high standards of performance in the New Zealand language services industry. NZSTI recognises two main categories of member-practitioners:

  • Full members who have been recognised formally by NZSTI as fully qualified professional practitioners and
  • Affiliates who are well-trained industry practitioners but whom NZSTI considers to be paraprofessional members working towards full NZSTI member status.

NZSTI has a rigorous system of qualifications approval and colleague endorsement to ensure any full member or affiliate works to the highest standard. Members must adhere to NZSTI’s Constitution, Code of Ethics and Code of Conduct.

NZSTI membership is a sign of quality. Engaging one of our full members is an important step to achieving a high-quality outcome for you or your organisation.

How to check if a New Zealand translator or interpreter is a qualified professional

Use our online directory via the search function at the top of this webpage. The directory lists all current practitioners who have NZSTI membership and enables you to find specific language pairs and areas of specialisation. You can check membership status, see what professional tools they use and find their contact details.

Full member translators may use the NZSTI translator stamp on documents they have translated. These stamps show the language and direction for which NZSTI membership is held.

Ask to see their NZSTI membership card, available to all NZSTI full members and affiliates. These cards carry photo identification and indicate the membership category of an  NZSTI practitioner, the language pairs in which they are qualified (and for translators, the direction of translation) and the practitioner’s NZSTI membership number. The reverse of the card lists the main points of the NZSTI Code of Ethics and Code of Conduct.




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