Māori translators push for a set pay rate

By Moana Makapelu Lee
  • Auckland
  • Wellington

Māori language exponents are graduating with a certificate in translation from the Māori Language Commission.

Meanwhile, a language expert is looking to establish a Māori translators association to push for a set pay rate for translators nationwide.

Former Māori broadcaster Kingi Kiriona was one of the eleven recipients to graduate with the Te Toi Reo Māori certificate today, which recognises competency in translation and interpretation.

Kiriona says “It’s an honour to receive this certificate today from those who have spent over 40 years battling for the recognition and survival of te reo Māori.”

Te Taura Whiri CE Ngahiwi Apanui says, “Most of the recipients here today are already in the business of translating or their work involves translating, so this certificate recognises that.”

More than 35 Māori language speakers undertook this year’s license.  Apanui says there is high demand, particularly within media and government agencies, for Māori translators.

“Government offices are always on the look our for Māori language experts and translators.”

However there is currently no set pay rate for Māori translators. 

Māori language expert Tawini Rangihau is looking to establish a translators association that will also recommend translator rates for sectors including businesses, government agencies and television production companies.

“Kāhui Whakamāori will act as a standard-setting body for translators working for government and others.  Māori translators are also in high demand for large international companies,” says Rangihau.

Kiriona says, “Many translators receive work and are still unsure of what we should be paid, so inevitably some are underpaid and others are overpaid.  It would be majorly beneficial to know the value of our work and what a suitable rate is for translating.”

Te Taura Whiri is working with experts to help shape the Kāhui Whakamāori.