With more than 100 licenced Māori interpreters certified by the Māori Language Commission, only 60 of them are active in the field. This year 19 students have jumped on board for the first of the three Māori translator's workshops held over the weekend in Rotorua.
It's a profession that has been around since the 1800's. And it continues to hold relevance.
Māori Language Commission Linguistic Lee Smith says, “There are many people that say "I am competent with the Māori language, however writing it is another story.”
To gain a Māori/ English interpreters licence you must attend these workshops run by the Māori Language Commission but one of the areas being faced by interpreters is the advancement of the Māori language.
“There are many words that many of us find hard to interpret, so when we do come across these words, we then have to refer back to a Māori context or concept.”
The demand for Māori/English interpreters is high according to Lee Smith which is why these workshops are important.
“From government departments, translating annual reports to verbal translations in government organisations what I really would like to see is for this position to be used in a lot of Māori gatherings.”
The final workshop is to be held in June during which the student will undergo the examination for the licence.