Frequently Asked Questions


Q: What is NZSTI?
• NZSTI stands for the New Zealand Society of Translators and Interpreters. It is an independent body representing professional practising translators and interpreters; this includes freelancers and those who are working as in-house translators and interpreters in the industry.
• NZSTI is an organisation whose membership is based on professional qualifications. See the 'About NZSTI' page.
• NZSTI is NOT an agency or a company and does not supply or employ language professionals.

Q: What is the difference between a Translator and an Interpreter?
A translator deals with written languages.
An interpreter deals with spoken languages.

Q: Can NZSTI help me find a translator or interpreter?
Yes! Our online searchable database of Full Members and Affiliates enables you to search for the language combination and the skills you require quickly and easily. Please note: we welcome members of the public using the Directory Search but NZSTI does not find the translator/interpreter for you.
Consult our search facility above, in the SEARCH box.

Q: How do I use the SEARCH facility?
• First, select 'Translator' or 'Interpreter' then from the drop-down boxes choose Source Language (that is, the language you wish to translate from) then Target Language (the language you wish to translate to). Click GO. (Note: for an interpreter, it does not matter which way you enter the languages.)
• The database will present a list of translators/interpreters with the chosen language pair - assuming NZSTI has any members for that language. Full Member practitioners are presented first.
• From the list, select one and click - their contact details, list of languages and specialties will be presented.
• If you have a specialised project, or need someone in your specific region of New Zealand, in the FIND box click 'advanced search options' which brings up a page in which you can use regional and specialty filters, or search for a known practitioner by name.

Q: Can I apply for a job with NZSTI?
Please DO NOT send job applications. NZSTI is not an agency, we do not employ translators or interpreters or find work for them. NZSTI is a professional organisation for practising translators and interpreters in New Zealand.

Q: How can I find work as a translator or interpreter?
  • Consider joining NZSTI, the only national organisation representing practising translators and interpreters in NZ, offering:
    - A s
    earchable Online Directory of qualified practitioners with a free listing for all Full Members and Affiliates.
    - B
    imonthly meetings in the main centres to facilitate networking with other translators and interpreters.
    - For a full list of benefits go to: http://www.nzsti.org/about/
  • Approach agencies directly - consult the Yellow Pages or search the internet to find these. 
  • Search the internet for online translation platforms.
  • Approach users of interpreter services such as District Health Boards, Ministry of Justice (Courts) etc. Note that an ever-increasing number of organisations require NZSTI membership.

Q: Why should I join NZSTI?
There are three main levels of membership to suit differing levels of qualification: Full Member (Member), Affiliate and Observer. See How to Join for a full description of these.
Membership benefits include:
  • Professional recognition: membership of NZSTI shows that you hold appropriate qualifications - users of T/I services often expect NZSTI Member or Affiliate status.
  • Free listing for Members and Affiliates in the searchable Online Directory at www.nzsti.org
  • Representation at governmental level: NZSTI campaigns on your behalf with relevant government bodies to promote your interests.
  • Professional indemnity insurance at reduced rates for Members and Affiliates.
  • Guidelines for translation of official documents.
  • Code of Ethics and Conduct.
  • Quarterly journal Word for Word available free of charge.
  • Forum: an online discussion forum where members may ask questions or air and share topics of interest.
  • Conference: an annual conference is held in one of the three main centres.
  • Professional development: NZSTI runs courses from time to time to help translators and interpreters improve their skills and prepare for accreditation exams e.g. NAATI


Q: What are New Zealand Immigration's requirements for translations?
For a summary of requirements for translations into English for immigration purposes, click here.  

These Translations Instructions are from the following Immigration NZ document: https://www.immigration.govt.nz/documents/amendment-circulars/amendmentcircular201510.pdf
See also: http://glossary.immigration.govt.nz/englishtranslations.htm

If you have further questions please refer to the full document or contact Immigration NZ directly.  


Q: Do I need a licence to become a translator or interpreter in New Zealand?
At present you do not need a licence, but an increasing number of organisations require Membership of NZSTI or at least specific qualifications in Translating or Interpreting, to register as a translator or interpreter with them.

Q: What qualifications do I need to be a full Member of NZSTI?
Please go to How to Join for a full description of the qualifications required for each level of membership.

Q: Where can I find suitable courses to qualify as a translator or interpreter?
Please go to Courses in NZ.

Q: Does NZSTI accept previous NAATI accreditations/levels or only current Certification?
  • For new applications, NZSTI only recognises current NAATI Certification.
  • For existing members, NZSTI does not at present (2019) police whether people who have gained membership based on a NAATI accreditation actually keep up with revalidation requirements, but we would strongly encourage you to do this to keep your NAATI credential current and valid.

  • Valid NAATI Certification is likely to become more essential over the coming few years.
For details of NAATI's requirements refer to their website: NAATI


Q: What do I need to send in support of my application to join NZSTI?
Send certified copies of your qualifications, especially those in TRANSLATION and/or INTERPRETING, with transcripts where required to prove grades achieved in relevant papers (see How to Join).
Unnecessary extra information costs you money to copy and post therefore:
  • Originals of qualifications - send certified copies only.
  • Your CV - this is not a job application, we do not need your full CV
  • Evidence of short courses or experiences unrelated to Translation or Interpreting
  • References - NZSTI awards membership based on objective criteria, not character or work references
  • Bulky folders - please save your money and our filing space

Q: What is meant by "Certified Copies" of documents?
To obtain a "certified" copy of a document, take the original document and the photocopy you have made, to a Justice of the Peace or solicitor. He/she will check that the copy is the same as the original, then stamp and sign it.
This is a necessary requirement for most copies of documents for official purposes, so that the recipient can be sure they are seeing a genuine document. For NZSTI's purposes the copy does not have to be in colour, as it is the information content that is important.
To find a Justice of the Peace near you go to:  http://justiceofthepeace.org.nz/Find+a+JP.html

Q: What sort of experience would be considered in support of my application?
In all but rare instances, membership is awarded based on qualifications in TRANSLATION and/or INTERPRETING only. A few years' experience with no specific qualifications is not sufficient.
Certain types of experience may be taken into account at the discretion of the membership committee and NZSTI Council*: 
  • Published translations of a high calibre such as books or scientific journals, where you are named as the translator.
  • Very detailed reference/s from reliable agencies, but only if they check their translators' work
  • Proof of regular, repeated assignments from the same private client/s over a number of years 
  • Note that such proof should be from independent sources (other people) not your own CV
  • Documentation should include details of the volume and complexity of assignments fulfilled
  • You may include a detailed list or spreadsheet of your work history but the evidence must be verifiable, e.g. backed up by detailed references and contact details of clients/agencies

If your documentary evidence does not comply with the above guidelines you are unlikely to qualify for Member or Affiliate status.

*Please note, the above guidelines do not mean that NZSTI doubts an applicant's ability to speak/read/write high-quality language; simply that objective evidence is required to support all claimed experience.

Q: I translate or interpret for my community, can I become a Member or Affiliate?
Not unless you have T/I qualifications. Quite apart from ability in two or more languages, there are many skills and legal and ethical issues which must be studied for a truly professional service to be provided. There are many traps for the unwary. One purpose of NZSTI is to encourage and support a fully professional and ethical approach to Translation and Interpreting in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Q: I have a degree in my specialist field, why is this not recognised?
Qualifications in other subjects, even if studied in another language, do not guarantee knowledge of the specific issues relating to Translation and Interpreting. The Online Directory has a field in which you can enter details of these qualifications in order to inform people looking for expertise in specialist areas, and the Search function includes a filter by specialty.

Q: What are NZSTI's membership fees and when should I pay?
NZSTI's membership year runs fromJanuary to 31 December.
Payment is not required until a person has been accepted into the appropriate level of membership, then the corresponding invoice is sent and membership is activated upon receipt of payment. 
NB: Where a person joins part way through the year, a pro-rata annual fee is charged. 
  • Full Member:
    Joining Fee $100.00 + GST*
    Annual Fee $100.00 + GST*
  • Affiliate:
    Joining Fee $85.00 + GST*
    Annual Fee $85.00 + GST*
  • Observer:
    Joining Fee $70.00 + GST*
    Annual Fee $70.00 + GST*

*GST does not apply to overseas-resident Full Members; a surcharge covering bank commissions and administrative costs may apply for overseas-resident Full Members.

Q: How do I obtain a Membership Card or Translator Stamp?
All Full Members and Affiliates are encouraged to hold an NZSTI Membership card. You will need to supply a recent, passport-type photograph, either posted in, or emailed in .jpg format. The cards show your membership category/ies, language pair/s and direction. The reverse lists the main points of the NZSTI Codes of Ethics and Conduct.
NZSTI Translator stamps are available for those with Full Member status only. Each stamp shows the member's name and one language pair (with direction/s indicated by  or ↔). There are two types of stamp, standard plastic/rubber (requiring separate inkpad) and self-inking:

Standard stamp

currently unavailable new

but replacement rubbers

for existing stamps

can be ordered.

self-inking stamp

13.5cm high x 6cm diameter

NZSTI Translator stamp impression 

Both stamps produce an imprint
of 45mm diameter. 

For further details of the stamp and how to order, log in to the MEMBERS section of the website and go to the General Information page. 
Q: May I use the NZSTI logo or banner on my website, stationery or advertising?
No - the logo and banner are for the exclusive use of the society as an organisation. NZSTI Members, Affiliates and Observers may not use the NZSTI logo/banner in any way or form including paper, electronic or internet.
  • Full Members and Affiliates may download the NZSTI membership insignia applicable to their membership. These are available in the log-in section after agreeing to the rules of use, which are also stated in the NZSTI Constitution.
  • You may state that you are a Member or Affiliate of NZSTI in any of the forms listed in the NZSTI Constitution


Q: How do I register with organisations such as NZQA, NZTA?
Both of these organisations are changing their systems through 2017, so NZSTI is currently unable to advise on this. Please contact the organisations directly.
The latest information from NZTA stated:

Applications to NZTA are assessed in bulk every few years. It is anticipated the Transport Agency will next seek registrations of interest in mid-2021 as the existing approvals expire in December 2021.

The Transport Agency will advise the New Zealand Society of Translators and Interpreters (NZSTI) thus allowing the NZSTI to inform its members. Registrations of interest will be sought from NZSTI members only.


Q: Why don't I receive mail-outs from NZSTI?
NZSTI communicates regularly with members by bulk mail-out, using a reliable mailing platform. However, these emails can still get caught by spam filters and may end up in your spam folder. If you have not received any emails from NZSTI for some time, or you have been expecting to hear from us, please check your spam folder first. You may also need to adjust your spam settings to accept email from info@nzsti.org.
Please note that it is important to check this, and to notify us of any change of email address, as most of our correspondence is sent by email, including annual fee invoices, notice of the Annual General Meeting, e-newsletters and notices of special events and professional development opportunities.
It is also a good idea to check the website from time to time for new notices of events that might interest you.


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