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Treaty Times 30

The practice of translation

Contributors to the Treaty Times Thirty project celebrating the launch of the book of translations

Today’s standard process in the translation industry consists of 3 steps:
  1. Translation: A qualified translator translates a text from one language to his/her native tongue.
  2. Revision: Another qualified, usually more experienced, linguist reviews the translation and makes necessary corrections.
  3. Proofreading: A final quality check is carried out to make sure the translation meets professional standards.
Given the national significance of the Treaty Times 30 project, the organising committee decided to implement a robust translation process that exceeds the industry’s standard practice to ensure the best outcome.

Stage 1: Translation

Members of the New Zealand Society of Translators and Interpreters were invited to participate in early December 2015. We then opened participation to other professional translators as well as translation students after Waitangi Day, 6 February 2016.

A minimum of 3 participating translators was required for any given language. This allowed us to have a variety of translations to work with in drafting the best translations possible during phase two of the project: the collaborative stage.

Stage 2: Collaboration

Once a language had met our minimum qualification criteria and once no other translations were expected, participants were invited to work together using online collaboration tools either to select the best translations or pick and choose the best elements of each individual’s translation to produce the best translations possible. Each working group had a dedicated member of the organising committee acting as a support person.

How each group worked together was up to the group – as long as they adopted a collaborative approach. Once they had produced a final translation of the Treaty and of Te Tiriti, the review stage began.

Stage 3: Review

The third stage was a final check carried out by suitable experts who were native speakers of the languages the Treaty and Te Tiriti were translated into. In other words, a Russian expert reviewed the two translations into Russian, while a Thai jurist reviewed the two translations into Thai. Stage 3 was a final step to ensure that the translations are of the highest quality possible.


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