Languages

From complete beginner through to advanced speaker, RMIT has a range of courses and subjects that cater to your interests and skill level.

Language electives

You can study a language as an elective as part of your undergraduate or postgraduate degree if you’re interested in travel, or pursuing a career overseas. Choose a language and learn to speak it like a local.

Which languages are available?

From beginner through to advanced, you can choose elective subjects in ChineseFrenchGermanItalianJapanese, or Spanish

Your course structure informs how many electives you can choose.

Students at a table in a classroom

Language major

If you're interested in pursuing a global career, or working in international relations, the Bachelor of International Studies offers a language major that gives you the opportunity to learn about other cultures, economies, business practices and political climates.

Which languages are available?

As a languages major, you can study Chinese, French, Japanese, or Spanish while also learning about a language’s context in society, politics, and business.

How do I enrol?

You can learn more and find out how to apply through the Bachelor of International Studies page.

Translating and interpreting

If you already speak the language, but want to build the skills you need to act as a translator or interpreter, RMIT offers accredited translating and interpreting courses for 39 languages, all the way up to postgraduate level.

We also offer specialist clusters in legal, medical and conference interpreting; translation and research.

Which languages are available?

RMIT is endorsed by the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI) for up to 40 languages, including:

  • Amharic
  • Arabic
  • Assyrian
  • Auslan
  • Bangla
  • Bosnian
  • Burmese
  • Cantonese
  • Chin (Haka, Tedim)
  • Dari
  • Dinka
  • Hakka
  • Hazaragi
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Karen
  • Khmer
  • Korean
  • Kurdish (Kurmanji, Sorani)
  • Kurdish Southern (Feyli)
  • Malay
  • Mandarin
  • Nepali
  • Nuer
  • Ormoro
  • Punjabi
  • Pashto
  • Rohingya
  • Samoan
  • Somali
  • Swahili
  • Tamil
  • Thai
  • Tigrinya
  • Turkish
  • Vietnamese

How do I enrol?

If you’re interested in becoming a qualified translating and interpreting professional, you can undertake the Graduate Diploma of Translating and Interpreting or the Master of Translating and Interpreting.

Frequently asked questions

Want to know more? Explore our frequently asked questions for translating and interpreting courses.

Languages FAQs

You will be assessed and placed at the appropriate level for you to continue language studies. Please contact the language coordinator for advice. 

Yes, if the language is available. Students who have completed language study at VCE should contact the language coordinator for advice. 

RMIT has cross-institutional arrangements with other universities. RMIT students can study languages which are not offered at RMIT, at other universities, and obtain equivalent credit points to their RMIT degree and vice versa. You will need to gain approval for this from your home institution.

To find out which other universities offer the language you are looking for, please see the Universities Languages Portal Australia (UPLA).

With approval from your home university, you can attend RMIT as a cross institutional student to study the language of your choice. Your result at RMIT will then be credited to your degree at your home university. Your government funded place, or your loan, will apply to your studies at RMIT for that course/s only. Cross-institutional students receive an RMIT student number and have access to all RMIT facilities and resources for their studies.

Yes, study tours and exchange programs are available, depending on the structure of your program. 

Why study a language?

Though English may be a global lingua franca, not everyone speaks it. International business, tourism and immigration mean that we have more global and intercultural encounters than ever before. It has never been more beneficial learn another language; no matter which one you study, you will gain new perspectives and skills that you might never have otherwise encountered.

As Professor Joe Lo Bianco said,

It is a disadvantage to not know English, and it is a disadvantage to know only English.

Societal reasons

Studying a language helps us understand the cultural and historical contexts that shape the information, ideas and customs of other societies. It encourages us to question our “universal truths”: only when faced with a different worldview can we understand our own.

Language helps us understand the relationship between communication and human nature, teaches us to appreciate diversity, and diminishes barriers like fear and distrust.

Travelling in a country where you speak the language can greatly enhance your experience. It also gives you access to a whole new culture: art, music, dance, literature, fashion, cuisine, film, philosophy, and science.

Professional reasons

As more companies operate globally than ever before, knowing another language can greatly enhance your employability. Even in small companies, the ability to speak a second language can give you a competitive edge.

Government agencies, NGOs, tourism, engineering, education, law and justice, economics, communications, entertainment, scientific research, and a broad array of service sectors all have needs for people with multilingual skills. Even if a potential client or colleague speaks English, the best way to understand their needs is to speak their language.

Cognitive reasons

Studies have demonstrated the cognitive benefits of learning another language. The known benefits include memory improvement, a longer attention span, and a reduced risk of age-related cognitive decline (such as dementia and Alzheimer’s). It has been linked to increased creativity, analytical skills, and reduced bias in decision-making.

Graduates often cite language subjects as some of the most valuable, referring to their increased ability in problem solving, dealing with abstract concepts, and listening skills. Studying a language can also improve your knowledge of English, your grammar and vocabulary skills.

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Acknowledgement of country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nations on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business.

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