Topic: Waitangi

Treaty of Waitangi to be translated into 30 languages

By Ripeka Timutimu

The New Zealand Society of Translators and Interpreters has announced the launch of the Treaty Times Thirty project.  Over 90 translators will work together to translate the English and Māori versions of the Treaty of Waitangi into 30 languages. 

Stefan Grand-Meyer wants to translate the Treaty of Waitangi, both the Māori and Pākehā versions, into 30 different languages.

"It is the founding document of NZ by definition it has translation at its heart and because of translation into Māori language a lot of issues came about because of the two different versions," says Grand-Meyer.

Grand-Meyer represents the New Zealand Society of Translators and Interpreters taking on this monumental task, saying, "At the moment, we have 56 translators and we are hoping to get 90 translators because we have set a number of criteria for the translations to qualify, and from the organiser's point of view we are talking about thousands of hours."

Leticia Murillo has translated both versions into Spanish.  She says, "It took me a bit longer than I thought because it was written a long time ago and the writing techniques are different, and it was difficult to build a sentence."

The Treaty Times Thirty project highlights the translator's difficult task of re-expressing identical meaning from one language to another.

Murillo says, "The English version is much longer than the Māori version, they are given a bit more importance, more details and the Māori version is more concrete."

On International Translation Day, 30 September 2016, the 30 versions will be gifted to New Zealanders.

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