5 February 2017
Speakers of other languages will soon be able to read the Treaty of Waitangi in their own language, thanks to an ambitious translation project by over 100 volunteers.
The English and Māori versions of the Treaty of Waitangi have been translated into 30 languages and New Zealand Sign Language. The translations, which are about to be published in The Treaty Times Thirty book, will be gifted to the people of New Zealand.
The Treaty Times Thirty book has been developed by the New Zealand Society of Translators and Interpreters (NZSTI). The society will present the book to the Governor General at a reception at Government House towards the end of February.
116 volunteer translators worked together to translate the English and Māori versions of the Treaty into 30 languages and New Zealand Sign Language. The undertaking is the result of a project conceived to celebrate the society’s 30th anniversary.
“The translations of the Treaty of Waitangi in the many languages of our country will add significantly to people’s understanding of New Zealand’s founding agreement”, says Treaty of Waitangi expert Dame Claudia Orange, a key supporter of the initiative.
Project spokesperson Stefan Grand Meyer adds, “The publication of the translations aims to make the Treaty more accessible to immigrants, and to encourage a better understanding of the Treaty internationally.”
The Treaty Times Thirty project underlines the importance of translation in New Zealand, and highlights the translator’s difficult task of re-expressing meaning from one language to another. It also showcases the crucial role of professional and accurate translation.
The project has received the support of major organisations such as Archives New Zealand, the Office of Ethnic Communities, the Delegation of the European Union to New Zealand and the Ministry for Culture and Heritage. It is hoped that The Treaty Times Thirty book will be seen as a valuable gift to all New Zealanders.