Agustina Marianacci

Agustina Marianacci

Freelance Translator and Interpreter
Master of Language and Culture
Graduate Diploma in Arts

She enjoys the variety and stimulation a career in translation and interpreting offers, says Agustina Marianacci who is originally from Argentina and now works as a freelance English-Spanish translator and interpreter.

“As a community interpreter, I sometimes work in the courts, at appointments with a variety of medical specialists, family and employment mediation processes, and immigration interviews. I also work as a conference interpreter, offering simultaneous interpreting services both in a booth on location and online through Zoom. I sometimes also offer professional development workshops for interpreters, and I’m at the president of the Auckland Branch of the New Zealand Society of Translators and Interpreters and a member of the society's national council.”

Interpreting and translation are terribly complex but very rewarding, she says.

“I learn so much from each assignment and I feel like I can do something for my own community here in Aotearoa. Understanding the enormous power that interpreters have to affect the outcome of an interpreted interaction is a significant driver for me to continue growing, learning and doing my absolute best. I want to ensure that those who need to communicate through an interpreter can access the services to which they’re entitled.”

Supporting her community
Agustina says she was drawn to further study in interpreting because she wanted to do her best to support New Zealand’s Latin American community.

“When I migrated to Aotearoa, I had just completed an undergraduate degree in translation at the National University of Córdoba in Argentina. I was working as a freelancer with a translation agency in Wellington that encouraged me to look into community interpreting as an option. I found myself doing a few interpreting jobs for them, and decided that I needed a proper qualification to ensure I was doing my best for the Latin American community in Aotearoa.

“The interpreting programme at AUT had the longest history and the best reputation, led by the only professor of translation and interpreting in the country, Professor Ineke Crezee. When I emailed to enquire about it, the student administrator made it so easy for me that I suddenly found myself enrolled in the Graduate Diploma in Arts.”

She says she soon became fascinated by the course Interpreter Role, Ethics and Practice; a course she now helps to teach.

“Dr George Major was a kind and open-minded lecturer who encouraged critical thinking. I started having questions about the status quo of the translation and interpreting field in Aotearoa and the Global North in general, which crossed over with my growing social awareness at the time. I could feel that the code of ethics had been written from a Pākehā perspective that didn’t represent me or the majority of my classmates. After I finished the graduate diploma, I wanted to research these issues more formally, so I enrolled in the Master of Language and Culture.”

Forming strong connections
She had plenty of highlights throughout her time at AUT, says Agustina who received a AUT Research Masters Scholarship and a Postgraduate Award in the Master of Language and Culture.

“One of the main highlights for me was the opportunity to study in such a diverse environment. Coming from Argentina, I had never been in a classroom where so many languages and cultures were represented. I made friends who are now dear colleagues. Because some of the courses in the graduate diploma were shared with New Zealand Sign Language and Deaf Studies students, I also got to learn about Deaf culture.

“Another highlight involves my participation in the Research Writing Group led by Tanya Ewertowska, who is now a close friend, both inside and outside AUT. I wouldn’t have enjoyed my master’s degree thesis half as much without the encouragement and support of the people in that group. Writing a thesis can be isolating, but our regular meetings and discussions offered the support I didn’t even know I needed.”

She also has many fond memories of the academic staff she met while studying.

“I wouldn’t have considered doing a master’s degree if it wasn’t for Professor Ineke Crezee’s blind faith, support and encouragement. I think she saw something in me before I did. I’m glad that I chose to listen to her!

“Having Professor Camille Nakhid as my thesis supervisor also taught me what it means to be a dissenting scholar who can do research without forgetting who they are. It meant so much to have a supervisor who is a person of colour. That is why it’s important that educational institutions have a diverse group of educators. She taught me that research can, and probably should, be fun and social, and that we can make whatever we want out of it.”