Articles tagged with: Conference

Conference presenters on Radio New Zealand

Two of the people who are speaking at the NZSTI Conference have been invited to talk on Radio New National about their presentation to the conference. You can hear both interviews.

Henry Liu was interviewed by Bryan Crump on Nights on Wednesday 17 June. You can listen to the interview in which he discusses the challenges of interpreting (and translation) in conflict and crisis situations at:…/wrong-interpretations

A pre-recorded interview with Stathis Gauntlett is scheduled to be aired on Nights at 7:10pm (approx.) on Thursday 2 July. Stathis will discuss the challenges of translating “The Gangsters” by Lefkios Zafiriou with Bryan Crump. To listen live, tune in to National Radio or use the live stream at After it is aired, the interview will be available to download or share from the Radio New Zealand National Nights webpage:

We encourage you to listen to both interviews to enjoy the conversations between Bryan Crump and these two eminent professionals.

By Mandy Hewett

Meet Wīremu Haunui, Māori interpreter in Parliament

Wiremu Haunui

“Expect the unexpected” is Wīremu Haunui’s adage

One of the activities offered during the NZSTI Conference weekend is a guided tour of Parliament, on Friday 26 June at 9:30am (click here for more details on the NZSTI Conferencce tour of Parliament). The current Parliamentary Te Kaiwhakahaere o Ngā Rātonga Reo Māori, Wīremu Haunui, kindly offered to take the tour group behind the scenes to show and talk about the interpreters’ studio for the House and the one for Maui Tikitiki-a-Taranga, show the former Māori Affairs Committee Room, Matangireia and give a brief talk on Ngā Ratonga Reo Māori in Māui Tikitiki-a-Taranga.

Growing up in the eastern Bay of Plenty in the early 1950s, Wīremu was raised in Te Reo Māori. It was only when he started going to school that he began learning English – as a second language. His linguistic abilities would set him up for the professions he embraced, as a language teacher and eventually a translator and interpreter.

Qualified as a primary school teacher, one thing leading to another, he taught Te Reo Māori at secondary school level. While he got an interpreter’s licence in 1972, there wasn’t a great demand for interpreting services in the eastern Bay of Plenty at the time. It wasn’t until he and his wife moved to the Wairarapa some 25 years ago that he decided to focus his career on translation and interpretation.

He worked for a time for the New Zealand Translation Centre in Wellington from 1989 to 1991, alongside John Jamieson and Patrick King, to gain experience in translation and editing techniques. Parliament approached NZTC to enquire whether they had a Māori interpreter. Wīremu was sent to sit down for a kōrero, and ‘that was the beginning of getting into contact with Parliament’. He became a full-time, permanent employee of Parliament when the position of Māori interpreter was created in 2004.

Up until then, Te Reo Māori services which include interpreting, translating, transcribing, editing as well as verbal proofreading for the Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives, had always been contracted out. The unit has maintained this practice, and currently has four contractors who help manage the workload. The unit Ngā Ratonga Reo Māori was formalised and now sits under House Services as a strategic move in the event the amount of Māori spoken in the House increases – it has done so significantly, in particular with the arrival of members of Parliament from the Māori Party.

‘Now, I don’t want to give the impression that Māori is spoken every time the House sit’, he says. ‘If there’s a bill in the House with a great Māori interest, then we can predict that Māori will be spoken.’ With the introduction of simultaneous interpreting into the House, MPs slip in and out of Māori, which makes the need for interpreting services highly unpredictable. ‘And it isn’t only Māori members doing that,’ he continues. ‘We also have non-Māori who have an affinity with the language. One of the current assistant speakers always tries to use Te Reo when he is presiding speaker… Always expect the unexpected is our adage!’

What was his most memorable experience in Parliament so far? ‘Initially,’ he replied, ‘we all have had such a moment. When we switched from sequential to simultaneous interpretation we would get a phone call because no-one could hear us: we had forgotten to press the on-air button.’ And before simultaneous interpreting was introduced, interpreters would sit in the House and interpret sequentially. MPs were expected to pause to allow an interpretation but that didn’t always happen.

Wīremu remembers a certain Member of Parliament who was always very difficult to interpret. ‘One time, he stood up, and rattled on and on, and wandered off in his speech, while I was waiting for him to stop. When he finally stopped and looked at me for an interpretation, I provided a summary of what he had said. It was much shorter, and so he got a fright, and probably thought it should have been longer… Everyone was roaring in laughter in the House.’

Quotes taken from an interview with Wīremu Haunui by Stefan Grand-Meyer.
Photo supplied by Wīremu Haunui.

By Stefan Grand-Meyer, NZSTI conference team member

The Invisible Professionals – address by Henry Liu, President of the International Federation of Translators

What happens when Vladimir Putin needs to talk to Barack Obama? Or John Key to King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud? An interpreter is the essential but often invisible link in communication between the two. How do New Zealand businesses communicate in overseas markets? Their documents and websites need to be translated by a professional translator.

New Zealander Henry Liu, President of the International Federation of Translators, will address the 2015 Annual Conference of the New Zealand Society of Translators and Interpreters. The theme of the conference is ‘Conflict and Communication’. The conference will take place at the National Library in Wellington on the weekend of 26th-28th June.

Henry Liu is the first New Zealander to head the International Federation of Translators, ‘the voice of the professional associations of translators, interpreters and terminologists around the world’. He has extensive experience of interpreting at the highest level, including working for heads of state.

Translators and interpreters are the vital link in many essential dialogues between two languages and cultures. When this dialogue occurs in an environment of conflict, their role is all the more indispensable, difficult and potentially dangerous. As the Federation states on its website:

‘With their dangerous, yet important jobs they guarantee at least a minimum of communication between the otherwise “speechless” parties in the conflict. As linguists committed to impartiality, they build bridges that overcome language and cultural barriers and thus help resolve situations where otherwise only weapons would speak. Yet the services of translators and interpreters lack the recognition they deserve and time and again they are regarded as traitors or collaborators by all the parties involved.’

One of the first actions of the Federation under Henry Liu’s presidency was to pass a resolution calling for protection of language professionals in conflict zones. (International Federation of Translators Resolution August 2014)

Stuart Prior, former New Zealand Ambassador to Russia and CEO of The Prior Group, will give the keynote address on Sleepwalking towards conflict?: The role of the interpreter in revolutionary times.

The NZSTI annual conference brings together language professionals from around New Zealand and the world to discuss these and other issues in an atmosphere of professional collaboration and learning.

The Welcome Function before the conference is proudly sponsored by the Wellington-based New Zealand Translation Centre Ltd (NZTC International) who are also taking this opportunity to celebrate their 30th year in business in the company of fellow industry professionals.

By Mandy Hewett, NZSTI conference team member

Got an idea for a presentation?

NZSTI2015After the New Year celebrations, many translators and interpreters are starting to plan their activities for the coming year. As part of your planning, you might want to consider giving a presentation at the upcoming NZSTI Conference in Wellington, on the theme of Conflict and Communication.

Submissions for presentations of about 20 minutes duration plus 10 minutes of Q&A, or proposals for workshops or panel discussions of 30-60 minutes duration should include a title, an abstract of about 250 words, and a brief profile and photograph of the speaker. Proposals should be submitted electronically to the Wellington Branch President, Karl Wilson.

The closing date for submissions is 28 February 2015. We look forward to hearing from you!