Speaking the language

BOPIS coordinator Emmanuelle Heatley celebrating eight years with Multicultural Tauranga President Premila D’Mello.

The Bay of Plenty Interpreting Service, BOPIS, is celebrating eight years of service in the Bay.

“When we started, we had seven interpreters and now we have 60. It’s incredible,” says BOPIS coordinator Emmanuelle Heatley.

Established in 2012, the initiative now has 31 languages available, with Mandarin, Punjabi, Korean, Samoan, Tongan, Nepalese, Spanish and Portugese being the most in demand.

Emmanuelle was recruited at the start by then-president of Multicultural Tauranga Ewa Fenn.

“Ewa felt there was a need for it, with the growing number of nationalities here and thought it would be good to use people who had joined the multicultural society.

“I first came to New Zealand 46 years ago, in 1975. I met my husband overseas, he was back here so I came to join him in Auckland, we got married and lived there for two years. Because of his job we went back to England to live for 30 years. We always said when he retired we would return to New Zealand.”

She initially joined the multicultural society and ran evening French classes from the organisation’s Tauranga Historic Village building. Later, she was asked to be the French Interpreter.

Emmanuelle has been the BOPIS coordinator for nearly six years, working 20 hours a week.

“But I’m on 24/7. My mobile phone is with me all the time.”

Last year the service had 222 jobs, with each job taking anywhere from one to seven hours. There have been 175 jobs in the last 12 months with a busy period following the lockdown.

“Our main work comes from the Ministry of Justice,” says Emmanuelle. “We do a lot of work for the family court, disputes tribunal, tenancy tribunal and criminal court.”

Requests also come in from police, local hospitals, the Ministry of Education and the Department of Corrections, says Emmanuelle.

“We also send interpreters to Waihi, Thames, Whakatane, Rotorua and Gisborne. In the last few weeks we did a job in Nelson via Zoom with a Japanese interpreter.”

BOPIS, an arm of Multicultural Tauranga, provides face-to-face and telephone interpreting as well as translation of documents. Each interpreter is vetted, specially trained and required to comply with a code of ethics including confidentiality, impartiality, conflict of interest and professionalism.

“This is a very valuable service for migrants,” says Multicultural Tauranga’s newly-elected president Premila D’Mello.
The range of language services is constantly being extended by adding new, qualified interpreters.

“Our biggest need at the moment is for Samoan and Tongan interpreters. Anyone who speaks those languages as well as good English, please come and see me,” says Emmanuelle.

If you are bilingual or multilingual and think you have the skills to join the BOPIS team of interpreters and translators, call BOPIS coordinator Emmanuelle Heatley on: 022 0433 525 or email: BOPIS@trmc.co.nz. Office hours are Monday to Thursday from 10am to 3pm.

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