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Programme overview

Want a career as an interpreter? Are you fluent in two languages? Perhaps you're already working or volunteering as an interpreter and want a formal qualification. The Certificate in Liaison Interpreting is a four-month intensive programme that provides you with professional skills in interpretation (the task of converting spoken statements from one language to another, and from one culture to another). With this certificate, community and government agencies can be sure you have the skills to work effectively and professionally as a liaison interpreter in a range of community settings.


  • Emphasis on practical experience: practise what you've learnt in our well-equipped language and computer labs and during group exercises with your fellow students.
  • Access to the latest resources to support your learning.
  • Friendly and highly skilled lecturers.
  • Guest speakers who will inform you about the different situations where liaison interpreters are needed, such as in legal and medical contexts.
  • This is a full-time course with an extensive on-line component. Classes are held two evenings per week (Tuesday and Thursday, 6pm-9pm) and on Saturday mornings (9am-12pm).

Admission requirements

To be eligible for admission, applicants must meet the general, or the discretionary, or the special admission requirements and they must also meet any programme-specific admission requirements. Applicants must also meet the English language requirements and may be interviewed.

Generic Admission Requirements

General Admission

All applicants must be at least 16 years of age on the date of the programme’s commencement for the semester in which they wish to enrol (or provide a completed Early Release Exemption form).

For Level 6 Certificate programmes applicants must have a total of at least 60 NCEA credits at level 2 in best 4 subjects OR a maximum total of 16 in best 4 Sixth Form Certificate subjects OR Unitec Certificate in Foundation Studies: Whitinga (Level 3) in a relevant pathway OR equivalent.

Special Admission

Applicants must have:

  1. Attained the age of 20 years on or before the first day of the semester in which study for the Certificate is to commence; AND
  2. Have provided sufficient evidence of aptitude or appropriate work or other life experience that would indicate a successful outcome in the qualification.

Discretionary Admission

In exceptional cases an applicant who does not meet the general admission requirements and who has not reached the age of 20 on or before the first day of the semester in which study for the Certificate is to commence may apply for discretionary admission.

English Language Admission Requirements

General English Language requirements
Applicants must have achieved a minimum standard of English as demonstrated by a minimum of 8 credits at NCEA Level 2 in English (4 in Reading, 4 in Writing).

International Students for whom English is not their First Language
Applicants must have achieved one of the following:

  1. Completion of NZ Certificate in English Language (NZCEL) Academic Level 4;
  2. An overall IELTS band score (Academic Format) of 6 with no band score lower than 5.5;
  3. An overall TOEFL pBT (Paper-based Test) score of 550 (plus essay TWE of 5) OR an overall TOEFL iBT (Internet-based Test ) score of 60 (plus writing score of 20);
  4. Level B2 under the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR);
  5. First Certificate in English (FCE) with a pass at Grade B OR Certificate in Advanced English (CAE) with a score of 52 or higher under the Cambridge International standard tests of English as a foreign language;
  6. Pearson Test of English (PToE) (Academic) with a score of 50;
  7. City & Guilds Internal English for Speakers of Other Languages (IESOL) B2 Communicator with a score of 66.

Existing English Language Proficiency
Applicants may also provide evidence of satisfying one of the criteria for existing English proficiency as specified by the NZQA. For more information please visit the NZQA website.

Programme Specific Admission Requirements

To be admitted to this programme, applicants must also meet the requirements set out in this schedule.

To be admitted to this programme, all applicants must meet the following requirements in addition to the requirements set out in the Certificate Generic Regulations:

  1. Be at least 18 years of age when they begin study on the programme
  2. Have a minimum of 4 years secondary schooling
  3. Provide evidence of an excellent/ native proficiency in a language other than English

Mother tongue or LOTE (Language Other Than English)

In order to demonstrate language competence in a mother tongue or LOTE, an applicant must:

  1. Have completed high school study in a mother tongue or LOTE as the language of instruction AND/OR
  2. Have a degree in a mother tongue or LOTE as a major AND/OR
  3. Be able to provide evidence or proof of oral and written language proficiency in a mother tongue or LOTE in the form of two reference letters from their community or someone of standing from an educational institution who speaks their language. These letters will be subject to verification.

English language requirements

In addition to Unitec’s English Language Requirements, applicants are required to have achieved a minimum standard of English as follows:

  1. Successful study at NZQA Level 5 or above in English medium, OR
  2. An overall IELTS (Academic) score of at least 6.5 with no band score less than 6.0, OR
  3. An overall TOEFL pBT (Paper Based Test) score of 575 (plus essay TWE of 4.5) or an overall TOEFL iBT (Internet Based Test) score of 90 (plus writing score of 21), OR
  4. The Unitec Graduate Certificate in English as an Additional Language, OR
  5. Evidence of achievement in English at a level equivalent to the above.

Courses and timetables

The following courses are valid for 2014. The courses may be offered as part of the programme. Click on the course links below to see the course details and timetables.

CoursesCredits Restrictions
Liaison Interpreting (LANG6200) 60 credits (0.5 EFTS)* To provide a programme of study in which students acquire an understanding of aspects of professional interpreting as a practical skill. * To provide programme of study in which students develop their ability to function professionally as liaison interpreters in all situations. * To provide a programme of study in which students develop an objective understanding, within a theoretical framework, of the cultures relevant to their work as liaison interpreters as well as the structures, procedures and commonly used terminology of the areas in which they will work.