Chief translator and manager

The translation work that Quintin Ridgeway does for the Department of Internal Affairs has a clear and direct effect on people's lives.

Key facts

Career: Chief translator and manager
Subject: Translation Studies

"After studying languages and linguistics, I left New Zealand and lived overseas for several years. I learnt German and Japanese proficiently and wanted to make the most of my linguistic knowledge and get involved back in the New Zealand language industry.

"While looking for places to study translation in Japan and Europe, I came across the newly developed programme at the University of Auckland. It offered comprehensive postgraduate study delivered by one of the best academics in the field of translator training, along with the opportunity to return to Aotearoa.

"As manager of the Translation Service, I advise government agencies on the best use of language to communicate with New Zealand's ethnic communities and assist them in developing language strategies. In my role as Chief Translator, I oversee the translation process and work to improve our translator's use of technologies such as translation memory, machine translation and AI automation to help with the growing demand such as for audio-visual content.

In the public sector, the translations we work on have a clear and direct effect on people’s lives. There are many opportunities to conceive, plan and instigate projects that have a positive impact on society.

Quintin Ridgeway Chief Translator and Manager, Department of Internal Affairs

"Translation skills develop an awareness of the meaning and the motivations behind words. I believe this is a crucial skill for engaging with people and media, who often use word selection and rhetoric to cloud meaning or mislead, rather than be clear and upfront.

"There is nothing more important today than a broad and insightful understanding of the world and the way it is. An Arts degree gives you the flexibility to study a topic in depth that you are truly passionate about. The soft skills and insight that you gain through pursuing a subject with enthusiasm lays the groundwork for a meaningful life and a meaningful career.

"The next generation of translation technologies will not need translators who mechanically work through texts. They will need translators and linguists whose language expertise is second-to-none and who truly understand one language and are able to express themselves effectively in another language.

"It is also likely that your skills will be needed in several different roles related to translation such as project management, graphic design or language and cultural advisory services. So keep an open mind while applying for roles or building your translation business."