December dates for your diary

Calendar snapshots

This month’s dates at a glance

1st       World AIDS Day

2nd     International Day for the Abolition of Slavery

3rd      International Day of Persons with Disabilities

5th      International Volunteer Day

8th      Rohatsu (Bodhi Day) – Buddhist,

Feast of the Immaculate Conception– Christian

10th    Human Rights Day

12th    International Universal Health Coverage Day

18th    International Migrants Day

19th    Chanukah begins – Judaism

20th    International Human Solidarity Day

21st     Winter Solstice, Yule – Litha – Wicca/Pagan Northern and Southern hemispheres

24th    Christmas Eve – Christian

25th    Christmas Day – Christian

Feast of the Nativity – Orthodox Christian

26th    Saint Stephen’s Day – Christian

Zarathosht Diso (Death of Prophet Zarathushtra) – Zoroastrian

Boxing Day

Kwanzaa begins

Bank Holiday – England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and ROI

27th    Bank Holiday – England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and ROI

28th    Holy Innocents – Christian

30th    Feast of the Holy Family – Catholic Christian

31st     Watch Night – Christian

New Year’s Eve/Hogmanay

TLS Team Highlights 2022

Over the year we have introduced interpreters and TLS staff, finding out more about the work and social lives of those who work with you every day. Here we revisit a selection of our replies…


Jacky Ashton, Service Coordinator for the TLS On Demand Team, revealed her full title of Lady Jacqueline Ashton in our profile piece. Jacky owns the title and a small plot of land in Scotland, which she describes as ‘the size of a carpet tile’!


Sumayyah Aleem, one of our highly rated freelance interpreters working in English, Punjabi and Urdu, brought home the real impact of our work when she told us how, during a project, she felt ‘very satisfied and happy when a broken family was reunited. The young children were back together from foster care.’


Stephanie Bright, Resource and Compliance Manager, shared a family secret recipe with us, which might come in handy this Christmas! When talking about who she would like to meet, she said: ‘My grandma. Unfortunately she never met my son, so would love that and to also enjoy her Yorkshire puddings again. She made them [on the hob] like pancakes and they were the best!’


Omead Hussain, another highly sought-after interpreter, working freelance in English, Arabic and Kurdish, also highlighted the human side of his work, describing his favourite project with TLS: ‘The project was aimed to produce videos that explain [in the most common community languages] the various social care procedures for children in care, unaccompanied asylum seekers and the parents of children being reviewed by children’s social care services.’


Bailey (aka Bee) Sage, TLS Graduate Projects Executive, reminded us of the strange days of 2020 when she told us: ‘In the first COVID lockdown, I shaved my head completely in the spur of the moment. It was truly the most liberating feeling and made for a beautiful, hassle-free summer.’


Helga C, a brilliant interpreter working in English and Portuguese, gave us another insight into the life-changing work our interpreters are doing: ‘My favourite project at Language Shop was interpreting with Shelter. Really felt that I was supporting people at very vulnerable times in their lives while they're going through homelessness, distress and mental affliction.’


Mandy Lloyd, one of the TLS bookings team, treated us all to some great stories, and her plans for the coming year sound like a great way to cope with rising food prices:  ‘In the next 12 months I would like to turn a strip of land my son has given me into an allotment. Now is the time to start digging and preparing for next year and I hope to grow enough food and flowers for the family. I’ve grown plenty in the garden this year but I’m looking forward to doing this on a much bigger scale.’


Shaun Hunsley, one of our in-demand freelance BSL interpreters, rounded off 2022’s profiles with some more great stories: ‘I was booked to interpret for a party that the late Queen of England was throwing in Buckingham Palace. It was an incredible evening. Then sadly I was part of the interpreting team booked for her funeral, it was an honour and a privilege to do both.’

If you would like to be profiled in 2022, or know someone else who would, please get in touch by emailing

Looking back over 2022

As we come to the end of 2022, we look back at some of our key monthly highlights and achievements....

TLS secured a large new contract

In NOVEMBER we were delighted to grow our business by becoming the sole provider of interpreting and translation services to all Primary Care Networks and GP surgeries and federations in Barking, Havering and Redbridge. A warm welcome to all our new customers.

TLS expanded its training portfolio

In JANUARY we built on the success of our free remote training sessions for customers, launching a weekly programme to which all customers are invited. The training demystifies the many types of interpreting and explains which you need and when – which can be a blessing when you are new to the world of language support! It looks at how and when to book an interpreter and best practice for working with interpreters, helping you to get the best value for your money.

The last two years have demanded a lot of flexibility and new ways of working. In MARCH, we brought you news of our remote examinations. Whether it’s the Ministry of Defence working in far flung locations around the world, or the University of West London and the International School of Music operating under Covid restrictions, the security and accessibility of our remote exam services have meant that people can continue to achieve their educational goals in the face of adversity.

In MAY, we brought news that we had added the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office to our growing list of customers using our training services.

Our training is not just reserved for customers. Many of our bookings take place in the health care sector, so in JUNE we hired psychiatrist Dr Sarkis Garjarian, from the NHS North East London Foundation Trust, to provide  a bespoke course for 150 interpreters on ‘Working as an Interpreter with Clinical Staff’. The training used real customer feedback to ensure interpreters are giving the best possible support to service users.

Customers gave their feedback

In FEBRUARY, TLS reported back on the results of our annual customer survey. This showed an increase in the numbers of you using our remote interpreting services – and satisfaction with these services was up on the previous year too, from 80 to 88%. We are delighted that so many of you are taking up this new technology with us.

Just as welcome was the news that at 98%, almost all our customers would recommend TLS to a colleague or friend; a number that was also up on the previous year’s. At least part of that may be because 97% of you reported that the team was friendly and polite, and 96% that the support they provided was excellent or good.

TLS developed ways to save you time

In response to the 2021 survey results, showing an increased demand for and participation in remote services, in SEPTEMBER, TLS announced that we have developed brand new software called PRISM, a device to make booking an interpreter even easier and quicker. PRISM allows customers to book a remote interpreter immediately, using our specially designed device.

In OCTOBER, we introduced a QR code caption service, allowing you to request a translated version of a document by scanning a QR code and filling out a quick online form.

If you have any questions or comments about any of our 2022 news stories, please contact Zainub Patel at


TLS scores top marks for customer service

Customer feedback is so important to our team and we are delighted to report that in the last three months our customers who include public sector organisations, charities and businesses, have rated 99% of interpreter appointments booked with us as 'Excellent' or 'Good'. They also reported that our interpreters were on time for 98% of appointments and 99.5% of customers fed back that appointments were 'easy to arrange'.

Our customers can choose from three service levels of interpreting; face-to-face, video and telephone, which can be provided as a scheduled or on- demand service and our qualified interpreters have over 250 languages between them! Our rigorous recruitment procedure guarantees customers always receive qualified and experienced linguists for every booking.

If you are interested in working with one of the UK's leading interpretation and translation service suppliers, that always puts its customers first, get in touch, we'd love to work with you.

November dates for your diary

Calendar snapshots

8th       Birthday of Guru Nanak Dev, Sikh

Guru Nanek Dev was the first Sikh guru and original founder of the religion. In India, in preparation for his birthday, there is akhand path, a 48 hour non-stop recitation of the Guru Granth Sahib in the gurdwaras. The day before the celebrations, there are processions and on the day of the festival itself, people gather for langar, a communal free lunch at the gurdwaras.

14th     World Diabetes Day

Since 1991, World Diabetes Day has been marked on 14 November, the birthday of Frederick Banting, the man who co-discovered insulin, the hormone that regulates blood sugar. The theme for this day for the years 2021-23 is access to diabetes care, and organisers call on governments to provide better education and equality of access.

18th     UK Disability History Month begins

Since 2010, during UK Disability History Month, we have celebrated the achievements of disabled people in this country. We also take the month to pay homage to the disability rights movements and activists who have fought for equity and equality for disabled people.

This month’s dates at a glance

1st      All Saints’ Day – Christian

2nd    All Souls’ Day – Christian, Coronation of Emperor Haile Selassie I – Rastafari

8th     Birthday of Guru Nanak Dev – Sikh, Intersex Day of Solidarity

9th     Dedication of the Lateran Basilica – Catholic Christian,

11th    Armistice Day

13th    Remembrance Sunday, World Kindness Day, UK Interfaith Week begins

14th    World Diabetes Day  

15th    Nativity Fast begins – Orthodox Christian

16th    International Day for Tolerance

17th    International Students’ Day

18th    International STAND UP to Bullying Day, UK Disability History Month begins

19th    International Men’s Day

20th    Feast of Christ the King – Christian, Transgender Day of Remembrance, Universal Children’s Day

21st    Presentation of the Theotokos – Orthodox Christian

24th    Martyrdom of Guru Tegh Bahadur – Sikh  

25th    International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

26th    Day of the Covenant – Baha’i

27th    Advent Sunday – Christian

28th    Ascension of Abdu’l-Bahá – Baha’i

30th    Saint Andrew’s Day – Christian, Bank Holiday – Scotland.

Rare language fact file: Hertevin

Native to: Siirt Province, Turkey

Number of native speakers: 4

Spoken by: Chaldean Catholics from the region

Learn some: With only 4 native speakers left, it is unlikely that you will need to use it, but to greet someone on Hertevin is ‘shlama’!

Interesting facts:

  • Although Hertevin is ancient, with records going back to the 6th century BC, it was not formally recognised until the 20th It is part of a group of languages that are known as Neo-Aramaic.
  • The language is named after a village in far southeastern Turkey. In the 1970s, Hertevin village had a population of 500, with many speaking the language, however by 1990 just one Hertevin-speaking family remained. Unlike most endangered languages, which face pressure from globalisation, the Hertevin speakers were forced to flee due to targeted violence during the Armenian Genocide.
  • The scattering of people from this region has contributed to the dwindling number of speakers of Hervetin. However, many Chaldean Catholics settled in Paris, where they were joined by Iraqi Christians during the Gulf Wars. There is a cathedral in the 18th arrondissement of Paris where the mass is read in Chaldean languages, as well as French.

The Language Shop provides support in any language you may need, including many of the rarer ones. Please speak to your account manager about your requirements.


Remembrance Sunday, 13th November

What: On the Sunday that falls nearest to 11th November (Armistice Day, marking the end of WW1), we remember British and Commonwealth soldiers who died in the World Wars and later conflicts.

Why: The day is an opportunity to remember our dead. For some, Remembrance Day is a time to focus on the tragedies of war, which we should strive to avoid. For others, it is a time for paying respect to the military.

How: The first anniversary of the end of WW1 was marked by King George V with a banquet, which a lot of people felt did not give the event the seriousness it deserved. The following year, the first event at the Cenotaph was held, which gave people the opportunity to gather and remember their dead. From 1921, the Royal British Legion started to sell the now synonymous red poppies to raise money for war veterans. These latter two traditions continue today, along with the two minute silence at 11am.

We always love to hear from customers about their own significant dates. Please get in touch if you have observed any of November’s festivals and would like to share stories or photos with us!

Meet The Team: Shaun Hunsley, BSL Interpreter

Every month, we introduce you to one of our team. This month, meet Shaun Hunsley, one of our freelance British Sign Language (BSL) interpreters.

Tell us about the role you do for TLS

I have worked as a freelance British Sign Language Interpreter for TLS for around 20 years. I cover a wide variety of assignments ranging from Health settings including Mental Health, Social Services and Events.

What's been your favourite project at TLS?

TLS used to be the provider of Interpreters for Pride in London. I used to be one of their Interpreters for the Main Stage. I don’t think it’s possible to have more fun in one day, so great memories.

What has been your biggest challenge?

I was attacked and left unconscious in the street with a broken nose, cheek bone and eye socket and fractured my jaw. I had an operation putting a metal plate permanently in my face and coming to terms with this, being a non-violent person, was a huge struggle.

If you didn’t do your current job, what would you like to do ?

If I was not an interpreter, I am sure I would have tried my hand at Interior Design. It has been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember. I struggle to walk past a furniture store without going in and coming out with yet another thing for the flat, as my poor husband will attest to.

Tell us something interesting about you.

I was booked to interpret for a party that the late Queen of England was throwing in Buckingham Palace. It was an incredible evening. Then sadly I was part of the interpreting team booked for her funeral, it was an honour and a privilege to do both.

  1. If you could meet someone, living or dead, who would it be and why?

I would love to meet Meryl Streep; she is an incredible actress and so unbelievably versatile in the roles she takes, so  it would be great to talk about her career.

What are your ambitions for the next 12 months?

To have as much fun as possible. Life is too short!

If you would like to be profiled, or know someone else who would, please get in touch by emailing

Striking European Parliament interpreters back at work – for now

Striking interpreters at the European Parliament have reached a temporary compromise with their employers, and are back at work for the time being.

In August, we brought you news of the remote interpreters on strike in the European Parliament. The interpreters were protesting the lifting of health and safety measures on remote interpreting, such as time limits to protect against hearing damage.

They have agreed to once again interpret remotely, but only if the parliament adheres to health and safety guidelines.

The episode has highlighted the need for the industry to adapt to new ways of working following the pandemic.

At TLS, our interpreters’ health and safety is a priority. If you have any questions about this, please contact your account manager.

October dates for your diary

Calendar snapshots

4th       Blessing of the Animals - Christian

On the Feast of St Francis of Assisi, the saint known for his love of animals, many Christians mark the day by saying prayers over animals. These could be pets, working animals or animals going to slaughter. Often, animals are brought to a place of worship to be directly blessed on this day.

5th     Dusshera - Hindu

On this day, Hindus celebrate Lord Rama’s defeat of Ravana, the ten-headed king of the demons who abducted Rama’s wife Sita. It is also said that Goddess Durga defeated the buffalo demon Mahishasura on this day. Celebrations involve effigies of the defeated, which are burned in the streets with fireworks, the fire representing the triumph of light over darkness.

10th     World Mental Health Day

The World Federation for Mental Health sets the theme for this annual awareness-raising day. The theme for 2022 is 'Make mental health and wellbeing for all a global priority' and calls on those in charge to prioritise mental health care. It also provides an opportunity for everyone to talk about mental health with friends, colleagues and loved ones.


This month’s dates at a glance

1st      International Day of Older Persons

2nd    Feast of the Guardian Angels – Christian

International Day of Non-Violence  

4th     Blessing of the Animals – Christian

Saint Francis’ Day – Christian

5th     Yom Kippur – Judaism

Dussehra – Dasara – Hindu

6th     World Cerebral Palsy Day

8th     Mawlid al-Nabi – Islam

9th     Birthday of Guru Ram Das – Sikh

           Sukkot begins – Judaism

10th    World Homeless Day

World Mental Health Day

11th    International Day of the Girl Child

13th    World Sight Day

15th    International Day of Rural Women

16th    World Food Day

17th    Shemini Atzeret – Judaism

           International Day for the Eradication of


18th    Feast of Saint Luke – Christian

Simchat Torah – Judaism

World Menopause Day

19th    International Pronouns Day

24th    Diwali – Deepavali – Hindu, Sikh, Jain,

Bandi Chhor Divas – Sikh

United Nations Day

26th    Birth of the Báb – Baha’i

Intersex Awareness Day

27th    Birth of Baha’u’llah – Baha’i

28th    Feast of Saints Simon and Jude – Christian

29th    World Stroke Day

30th    British Summer Time ends

31st    All Hallows’ Eve – Christian

Reformation Day – Protestant Christian

Samhain (Halloween) – Beltane – Wicca/Pagan Northern and Southern hemispheres