Bachelor of Arts - Interpreting

Creative Tech

Future careers in interpreting and translation

Find out more about your career prospects after graduating in this guide.

Interpreting is so much more than just repeating someone's words in a different language. The variety of language, the level of formality and cultural understanding all test the skill of a good interpreter. The challenge is to do justice to every situation. Success brings great satisfaction to the interpreter and the clients alike. This interpreting programme is suitable for students who already speak two languages very well.

AUT has the longest tradition of teaching interpreting in New Zealand. Our programmes are thorough and practice-based, leading to qualifications directly related to professional activity. Court and hospital visits are part of the legal and health-related papers.

Career opportunities

Graduates will be able to work in a variety of areas. The legal and health sectors offer the majority of interpreting work. Graduates could work for:

  • LanguageLine (telephone interpreting)
  • NZ Health agencies
  • NZ Legal system
  • NZ Border Control
  • Refugee and Migrant Service
  • Counselling and Mental Health Settings
  • Child, Youth and Family Service.
  • Trade expos
  • Foreign affairs
  • International business conventions
  • International conferences
  • Movie voice-overs.

Find out more about your post study career opportunities in this guide

Entry criteria

  • Interview will be required to determine suitability for the programme
  • Applicants for whom English is an additional language must provide evidence of oral and written proficiency in English.
  • Applicants will be invited to attend a pre-enrolment selection interview. During this interview process, they are required to demonstrate the advanced language skills needed for interpreting between these languages.

Key skills students learn

The Interpreting major requires students to:

  • Recognise the importance of the real purpose of what is said, not just translating the words alone
    Recognise cross-cultural implications for interpreting
  • Recognise the effects of intonation on spoken words
  • Recognise the frequent use of idiomatic language in spoken English
  • Interpret and paraphrase accurately, using a range of terminology appropriate to specific contexts such as healthcare or legal settings
  • Interpret both consecutively and simultaneously from English to a language other than English
  • Understand the ethical and professional responsibilities of an interpreter.

Workplace experience

As a Bachelor of Arts student at AUT you will have the opportunity to do workplace experience in your third year. Some students have taken internships with an interpreting or translation agency, while others have undertaken a project in the education industry or business. These opportunities give you valuable experience that will help you land your first job when you graduate.


Core papers

Throughout the three years of the Bachelor of Arts, students take core papers that provide the necessary skills in writing, research and IT capability to prepare them for academic work and their working life.

For a list of core papers see the Bachelor of Arts overview.

Interpreting papers

ENGL501 Critical Media Studies (Compulsory Year 1 Language paper for BA Interpreting Major)

You must complete:
TRIN603 Interpreter Role, Ethics and Practice
TRIN604 Societal Context for Interpreting and Translation
COMM651 WeSpeak: Pronunciation, Phonology and Effective Communication
TRIN702 Advanced Interpretation Legal Studies
TRIN704 Advanced Interpretation Health Studies

Plus one of the following papers:
TRIN705 Advanced Health Interpreting
TRIN707 Telephone Interpreting and Video Conferencing
TRIN708 Advanced Legal Interpreting

Last updated: 23-Feb-2018 11.14am

The information on this page was correct at time of publication. For a comprehensive overview of AUT qualifications, please refer to the Academic Calendar.