A November 2023 update on NAATI standards

This is an update regarding National Accreditation Authority of Translators and Interpreters (NAATI) standards, from Whaikaha, at the request of the NZSL Board.
  • In May 2023, the NZSL Board stated it would stop any process that creates a risk for the Deaf and NZSL communities.

  • Following the information provided to them to date, the NZSL Board understood that by adopting the NAATI standards for NZSL interpreters, only NAATI-credentialled NZSL interpreters could be engaged and paid for their work.

  • This month, the NZSL Board was told that information they had received from Whaikaha was not accurate. Whaikaha has now confirmed that while NAATI-credentialled NZSL interpreters will be booked as first-preference from 1 July 2024, those without NAATI accreditation may be booked and receive pay for their work. This would only happen if all efforts have been made to find a NAATI-credentialled interpreter, first. This means that non-NAATI registered qualified NZSL interpreters, and communicators, will still be able to work after 1 July 2024.

  • Whaikaha advised the NZSL Board of this misunderstanding ahead of their November 2023 meeting. The NZSL Board has been clear they are concerned their previous decisions to implement NAATI were not based on accurate information.

  • At its November 2023 meeting, the NZSL Board decided to pause the adoption of NAATI standards for NZSL interpreters. The NZSL Board has directed Whaikaha to urgently re-investigate the suitability of the NAATI standards for the NZSL community, due to receiving this new information.

  • Once Whaikaha has completed its re-investigation into the NAATI standards, this information will then be provided to the NZSL Board, for their consideration and decision.

  • The NZSL Board has recently met with key stakeholders to advise them of the misunderstanding and will continue to keep these stakeholders updated and provide updates to the community on any future decisions.

  • Should the NZSL Board decide to proceed with adopting NAATI standards, it expects Whaikaha and MBIE to work together to clarify the relevant information on the MBIE and NAATI websites as it relates to requirements for NZSL interpreters specifically.

  • Whaikaha understands this impacts the NZSL community. Whaikaha is committed to ensuring the NZSL Board has full and accurate information going forward, to support the NZSL Board to make decisions on interpreting standards.

  • Whaikaha apologises for the confusion this misunderstanding has created for the NZSL Board, and the NZSL community. We will be introducing new processes to improve the information the NZSL Board receives to support it in its future decision-making.

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