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For applicants

How can I become a professional translator or interpreter?

Becoming a professional translator or interpreter takes more than speaking two languages. Click these links for information on pathways to translation or pathways to interpreting and for NZSTI-approved courses in New Zealand.

What sort of experience would be considered in support of my application?

In all but rare instances, membership is awarded based on qualifications in translation and/or interpreting only. A few years' experience with no specific qualifications is not sufficient.

Certain types of experience may be taken into account at the discretion of the membership committee and NZSTI council*:

  • Published translations of a high calibre such as books or scientific journals, where you are named as the translator
  • Very detailed reference/s from reliable agencies, but only if they check their translators' work
  • Proof of regular, repeated assignments from the same private client/s over a number of years
  • Note that such proof should be from independent sources (other people) not your own CV
  • Documentation should include details of the volume and complexity of assignments fulfilled
  • You may include a detailed list or spreadsheet of your work history but the evidence must be verifiable, e.g. backed up by detailed references and contact details of clients/agencies

If your documentary evidence does not comply with the above guidelines you are unlikely to qualify for Member or Affiliate status.

* Please note, the above guidelines do not mean that NZSTI doubts an applicant's ability to speak/read/write high-quality language; simply that objective evidence is required to support all claimed experience.

I have a degree in my specialist field, why is this not recognised?

Qualifications in other subjects, even if studied in another language, do not guarantee knowledge of the specific issues relating to translation and interpreting. The Online Directory includes notes and a search filter to enable members to attract work in their specialist fields.

What is meant by "certified copies" of documents?

To obtain a "certified" copy of a document, take the original document and the photocopy you have made, to a Justice of the Peace or solicitor. He/she will check that the copy is the same as the original, then stamp and sign it.
This is a necessary requirement for most copies of documents for official purposes, so that the recipient can be sure they are seeing a genuine document. For NZSTI's purposes the copy does not have to be in colour, as it is the information content that is important.

Click here to find a Justice of the Peace near you.
Do I need a licence to become a translator or interpreter in New Zealand?

At present you do not need a licence, but an increasing number of organisations require membership of NZSTI or specific qualifications in translation or interpreting.

For members

How can I upgrade my membership?

If you are an Observer or Affiliate member of NZSTI, you can apply to upgrade your membership by completing this form and providing evidence of your new qualifications.

Where can I order my NZSTI membership card or translator stamp?

Under member resources in the My NZSTI area go to membership card or translator stamp.

May I use the NZSTI logo or banner on my website, stationery or advertising?

No - the logo and banner are for the exclusive use of the society as an organisation.
However, Full Members and Affiliates may download the NZSTI membership insignia applicable to their membership after agreeing to the rules of use. These are available in the log-in section and may be used for websites, email signatures and on stationery but only in relation to the language pair for which that level of membership is held.

You may also state that you are a full member or affiliate of NZSTI in any of the forms listed in the NZSTI Constitution. 

Why don't I receive mail-outs from NZSTI?

NZSTI communicates regularly with members according to their chosen email subscriptions - check your preferences, you may need to select more.
Our platform complies with bulk mail regulations but but these emails can still get caught by spam filters.
Please check your spam folder. You may also need to adjust your spam settings to accept email from and add our email to your address book.
Please ensure you log in and update your email address if you change it.
It is a good idea to check the website frequently for new notices of events that might interest you.

What are the new Ministry of Justice rates in 2023?

New hourly rates:

  • $65 for qualified interpreters (NAATI certification or a tertiary qualification in interpreting or qualification in interpreting and translation)
  • $100 for qualified NZ Sign Language interpreters
  • $100-$120 for qualified te reo Māori interpreters (Toi Reo Māori certification or endorsement)
  • $50 for unqualified interpreters (including te reo Māori)

This only applies to interpreters the Ministry books directly. The pay rate for interpreters that work for a Language Service Provider (LSP) continues to be agreed between MoJ and the LSP.

Accepted qualifications and certifications are:

  • a NAATI certification
  • a tertiary qualification in interpreting or qualification in interpreting and translation
  • Toi Reo Māori certification issued by the Māori Language Commission or written endorsement by a kaumatua or kuia.

How do I enrol with the NZTA to translate driver licences?

Waka Kotahi (NZTA) has a closed list of translators and they only open for applications approximately every five years. We expect that Waka Kotahi will seek registrations of interest in mid-2022 as the existing approvals expire in December 2022.

Waka Kotahi will advise the New Zealand Society of Translators and Interpreters (NZSTI), allowing NZSTI to inform its members. Registrations of interest will be sought from NZSTI members only.

Individuals and organisations wanting to be approved to provide a translation service will need to be current members of the NZSTI.

If you have any further queries, please refer to the Waka Kotahi website for more information


Where can I find out about MBIE's support package for interpreters to achieve NAATI?

Visit our dedicated FAQ page for that topic.


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