June 21, 2024

Key facts to know for Maori translation 

  • April 4, 2024
  • 5 min read
Key facts to know for Maori translation 

Māori which is often referred to as Te Reo too comes from the eastern Polynesian language family. It is the language of the Māori people who happen to be the native population belonging to New Zealand. Being a member of the Austronesian language family it has close ties with the Cook Islands Māori Tuamotuan. Maori is one of the ancient languages of New Zealand. It also serves as the official language of the country with English and NZ’s sign language. If you are a business that intends to tap the Maori-speaking regions with translation services, you must know the language and its important facts. 

Here are some important Maori language facts to know before attempting Maori translation services. 

It is an endangered language

While you target Maori people in New Zealand through Maori translation, you must be aware of the status of the language. This language has been listed by UNESCO in their endangered language list and has been marked as ‘to be endangered soon’. The number of native speakers is decreasing. This is an alarming fact which also makes it evident to keep track of the qualified translators of this language to preserve the language and take help for translation services.

It has two traditional dialects

When it comes to dialects and variation, it is important that you are mindful of the facts about the language, its dialects, and other details. As the historians report, there were two major dialect groups of the Māori language.

  1. North Island
  2. South Island

Moreover, as mentioned above, the South Island is going to become extinct relatively soon. Mentioning the differences between different dialects, we get to know that there is no significant difference between both. However, the differences in pronunciation and vocabulary stand still in their place. It is imperative that you are aware of your target audience’s location, whether they are at North Island or South Island. This is crucial to offer the right and relevant translation. This also helps you to seek assistance from the relevant translation services company.

It has a strong cultural significance

Moari language represents a whole culture like all other languages represent their relevant cultures. It has a great connection with the Māori culture. A Māori language translator should integrate his translation with cultural knowledge. He should be able to understand the cultural references, proverbs, and concepts that ensure accurate and culturally relevant translation. People are often sensitive about their languages and cultures and any violation or going against the culture can make you blacklisted in the relevant region. Therefore, to avoid all such unfortunate situations, it is important to take the relevant measures accordingly.

There are doublets and loanwords

Māori also acts as one of the official languages of New Zealand, along with the fellow language English. Hence, the impact and influence of the English on Maori and vice versa is inevitable. The Maori language has adopted many words from English over time. This led to creating doublets which have the words from Maori as well as English. The words that Maori and people of New Zealand use belong to Maori and English origins. Moreover, the context of the words and its comprehension can help in understanding the crux of it. 

Te Reo & Maori are related

The previous dialect of Maori was named Te reo Maori and many native speakers still use this as their first tongue. They also consider it the formal term for the Maori language. However, Maori is used interchangeably. The translators should be preferably native speakers. A Maori language translator should be familiar with both terms and the context both are used in while translating the content. Moreover, this information helps them use these terms in the right place with their appropriate usage.

This language is evolving faster

Maori is one of the oldest languages of New Zealand. As the historians suggest, it came from the Hawaiki. According to anthropologists, the origin of the language is eastern Polynesia. Moreover, as far as their arrival in the region is concerned they came through voyages in the seagoing canoes during 1350 AD. Naturally, the language has had plenty of time to evolve in isolation from other Polynesian languages. Like many other languages Maori also had no writing system for a long time. With the language listing in the UNESCO, the translators should be aware of the updates related to this language. In addition, the changing vocabulary trends and terminology also help to ensure that translations are accurate.

Professional translation services are a must

Last but not least, the importance of professional services should not be overlooked or ignored. As we are well aware of the language facts now as well as the complexities of the language so using professional translators from a competent and local translation services company can help navigate through the challenges of Maori translation more swiftly. 


Maori is the native language of indigenous Maori people settled in New Zealand. This language has become extinct now and UNESCO has added this language in the list of endangered languages. However, if you persist in targeting Maori people through Moari translation, make sure that you as a business, and your team of translators are well aware of certain language facts.

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