Translator Kaiwhakawhiti Reo ā-Tuhi

Translators convert written material from one language into another.

Registration is not compulsory, but some clients may require translators to be registered with the New Zealand Society of Translators and Interpreters (NZSTI).

Translators may do some or all of the following:

  • read material from the source language and rewrite it in the required (target) language
  • check that the original meaning and feeling of the text is not lost
  • ensure that technical terms are correctly translated
  • proofread and edit other translators' work
  • discuss clients' translation requirements and give quotes for services
  • research the meaning of words and terminology using dictionaries and the internet
  • use computer-aided translation tools.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for translators includes:

  • work with people from different cultures such as new migrants
  • work in professional sectors such as law enforcement and scientific, legal, technical or medical environments
  • living and working overseas – for example, going on a student exchange programme
  • language study.

Personal Qualities

Translators need to be:

  • adaptable and motivated
  • able to keep information confidential
  • able to work efficiently under pressure
  • able to concentrate for long periods
  • able to negotiate and solve problems
  • accurate, with an eye for detail
  • curious and creative
  • skilled at writing and research
  • organised, with good administration skills.


Translators need to have:

  • ability to write well
  • sound general knowledge
  • knowledge of at least two cultures and written languages
  • knowledge of translation software such as SDL Trados Studio or memoQ
  • accounting and marketing skills if they operate their own business.

Knowledge of te reo Māori may be useful for translators working in New Zealand.



  • usually work regular business hours, but may work longer hours, evenings or weekends if they need to meet deadlines, or may work part time
  • work in offices or their own homes
  • may travel to visit clients and learn about their businesses.

Translators may get experience at a government department or commercial service, then move on to set up their own businesses or agencies.

With further training, translators may also become interpreters (translating the spoken word).

Years Of Training

3 years of training usually required.

There are no specific requirements to become a translator. However, most translators have at least a Bachelor's degree in translation and many have a Master's degree.

The New Zealand Society of Translators and Interpreters (NZSTI) recommends that you also do workshops to increase your skills and improve your chances of getting work.

Some employers may require you to have certification at the professional level from the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI).