Meet the Team: Mandy Lloyd, TLS Bookings

Every month, we introduce you to one of our team. This month, meet Mandy Lloyd, one of our bookings team.

Tell us about the role you do for TLS

My role for TLS is to answer incoming calls from professionals who need interpreters to carry out their appointments. I take all the callers’ details and have a phone around to find an interpreter for any given language. Once the interpreter is connected to the professional I will dial in the service user if required and then when I’m confident everyone is in the call I hang up and get ready for the next call.

What's been your favourite project at TLS?

My favourite project without doubt was the switching over to our new phone system - such a user friendly and easy platform to navigate.

What has been your biggest challenge?

My biggest challenge was handling calls with our previous call system, it was very manual and not as user friendly as what we have now.

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

If I didn’t do this job and I had my time again I would definitely go into forensic science and criminology, both of which fascinate me.

Tell us something interesting about you.

Some interesting things about me:

  • I ate cucumber sandwiches and drank iced coffee at one of the Queen’s garden parties at Buckingham Palace. Given that our wonderful Queen has just died, I see this as even more of a privilege than it was at the time.
  • I swam in the Weeki Wachee River in Florida with a family of manatee, quite by chance as we were snorkelling! A 6 week old baby manatee swam over to us for a chin scratch, just like a puppy would. This was one of those WOW moments in my life!
  • I went to Ascot Ladies Day in a 4 in hand horse drawn carriage, we stopped on the long walk in the grounds of Windsor Castle to drink champagne and take in the moment before joining guests in the Royal Enclosure.
  • I was rescued by the RNLI and brought back to shore in a lifeboat after the engine on our power boat failed. Not one of my finer moments but exciting to say the least and since that day I’m an avid supporter of the RNLI. Getting back to shore was a little embarrassing as quite a crowd had gathered to watch… thank you RNLI!

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

Without doubt it would be Sir David Attenborough. He has become one of the country’s national treasures for the work he has done for wildlife conservation and the planet and I would love to hear some of his stories.

What are your ambitions for the next 12 months?

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.

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


Interpreter blunder surprises Arabic-speaking world

The passing of HM The Queen in September was international news; the UK’s longest reigning monarch had made a huge impact on the world stage in her almost 71 years as head of state.

However, the pressure of reporting apparently got to one of the Arabic interpreters working for Dubai’s Al Arabiya news channel. Viewers were shocked by the linguist’s blunder, rendering “it is my most sorrowful duty to announce to you the death of my beloved mother, the Queen” with an Arabic translation that literally meant “I am very happy…”.

Most in the Arabic speaking world greeted the mistake as a bit of light relief from the sombre proceedings and one that was easily understood as a mistake, even to those without English. However some, including Egyptian news provider Sada Elbalad, made much of the slip-up, calling it a “terrible mistake”.

The episode highlights the difficulties of simultaneous interpreting and the quick judgement linguists face if they make a mistake. Using appropriately skilled interpreters and investing in their development is the best way to minimise the risk of mistakes.

Read about how TLS invests in interpreters’ skills and development here.

TLS translations made even easier

Would you like a simple, user-friendly way for your patients or residents to request translated documents? TLS has introduced a QR code caption service that allows users to request a translated version of a document by scanning a QR code and filling out a quick, translated online form.

If you’d like more information on this service or would like to add a QR Code Caption to your document, please contact

Back to School with The Language Shop (tls)

As the new academic year gets underway, we wanted to remind schools of the language support services The Language Shop (tls) offers to help improve parent and pupil communications and ensure a smooth start to the new school term.

Ways tls can support your school

Language support for schools is essential: there are over 1.6million EAL students (English as an additional Language) in the UK, and many of their parents/guardians have limited spoken English. It is vital that these individuals receive quality interpreting and translation support throughout the year to ensure language is never a barrier to success and achievement.

We can assist in a range of ways, including:

  • Easy to use remote video or telephone interpreting in over 300 languages to support parents’ evenings and other meetings/events.
  • Translated templates for crucial documents including consent forms and safeguarding policies.
  • Face-to-face interpreters for key meetings such as disciplinary hearings and SEN assessments.
  • British Sign Language provision

Why choose tls for interpreting in your school?

  • All our interpreters working with children are enhanced DBS-certified and we deliver our own in-house Level 2 Safeguarding qualification.
  • Registering with us is quick and simple. The Language Shop only charges schools for the interpreting they use. Remote interpreting services are charged by the minute and there are no monthly or up-front subscription charges to pay.
  • Our interpreters are all UK-based and available for face-to-face or telephone bookings. For telephone, we offer on-demand calls where users are connected to an interpreter within 5 minutes. School customers can also select to work with the same interpreter time and time again to maintain continuity.
  • We are also one of the largest suppliers of language services in health and social care settings across London; our interpreters are highly experienced supporting children and their families in sensitive situations.

Contact us today to find out more about our language support services for schools.

September dates for your diary

Calendar snapshots

9th       Anant Chaturdashi – Hindu

Anant Chaturdashi is observed by Hindus and Jains. It marks the end of a joyful ten day celebration of Lord Ganesha, and it is customary to bid the god farewell by immersing an idol in water before sunset.

14th     Triumph of the Cross – Christian

Similar to the festival of Meskel described above, the Triumph of the Cross marks the discovery of the true cross. This is a major festival in the Christian calendar and is celebrated differently by the various branches of the church.

26th     Rosh Hashanah – Judaism

The two-day celebration of Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year. At this time, Jews traditionally ask for forgiveness for their sins. They also believe that God looks at everyone’s actions over the previous 12 months and decides what the next 12 will be like.

This month’s dates at a glance

5th       International Day of Charity

6th       Colour Blind Awareness Day

8th       Nativity of Virgin Mary – Christian

Nativity of the Theotokos – Orthodox Christian

International Literacy Day

9th       Anant Chaturdashi – Hindu

10th     World Suicide Prevention Day

14th     Triumph of the Cross – Christian

Exaltation of the Cross – Orthodox Christian

15th     International Day of Democracy  

18th     International Equal Pay Day

21st     Feast of Saint Matthew – Christian

International Day of Peace

World Alzheimer’s Day

23rd    Autumn Equinox, Mabon – Ostara – Wicca/Pagan

Bi Visibility Day

International Day of Sign Languages

25th     World Deaf Day

26th     Rosh Hashanah – Judaism

Navaratri begins – Hindu

UK National Inclusion Week begins

27th     Meskel – Ethiopian Orthodox Christian

28th     Fast of Gedaliah – Judaism

International Right to Know Day

29th     Michaelmas – Saint Michael and All Angels – Christian

World Heart Day.

Rare language fact file: Adamorobe Sign Language

Native to: Adamorobe village, Ghana

Number of native speakers: 35

Spoken by: Adamorobe villagers

Learn some: You can learn how to sign the days of the week with this YouTube video.

Interesting facts:

  • Adamorobe has a much higher incidence of deafness than the rest of Ghana. This stands now at roughly 2% of the population (compared to 0.4% in the continent of Africa as a whole), but in the past at a much higher percentage – some sources giving it as high as 25%. Researchers have identified a mutated gene that is responsible for this, which has been passed down through generations.
  • The village developed its own sign language, which is completely distinct from the official Ghanaian Sign Language. In order for Adamorobe’s deaf population to be fully integrated into village life, everyone, hearing or deaf, uses Adamorobe Sign Language.
  • As with all minority languages, Adamorobe Sign Language is now under threat from more dominant ones. Deaf children in the village are now sent to school at Ghana’s boarding school for the deaf, where they learn the official Ghanaian Sign Language, alongside written English.

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.

Celebrations around the world: Meskel (Ethiopian Orthodox), 27th September


Meskel translates in Ge’ez, the ancient Ethiopian language, as ‘cross’. This annual festival celebrates the discovery of the cross that Jesus was crucified upon.


According to scripture, the Roman Emperor Constantine, Queen Helena, in the 4th century had a dream where she was instructed to build a bonfire. The smoke would show her where the true cross was buried. She built a fire and her dream came to pass.


Every year on 27th September, crowds gather in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, for the celebrations. Meskel Square, named for the festival, hosts a demera, or bonfire, which is decorated with daisies. Celebrations start early and continue all day and into the evening, when they are concluded with shared prayers.

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


Language industry: interpreter workshop on cancer

Metrosouth, a regional public health body in Australia, recently held specialist training for 60 interpreters working in cancer care. The session involved training the interpreters on cancer treatments, services and terminology, so that they could better understand and relay the specialist conversations between service users and medical staff. Some described it as ‘the best training we’ve ever had’.

At TLS, we have long since recognised the importance of matching interpreters’ specialist skills to the job at hand. When you book with us, we will always prioritise specialisms and continuity, so that we match you with the best available interpreter for the job.

Our qualifications platform TLS Learn provides the training and development to ensure that we have a steady supply of high quality interpreters ready to meet our customers’ needs.

Visit TLS Learn 

New technology PRISM makes remote interpreting even easier

As the demand for our remote video and telephone interpreting services continues to grow, TLS has developed PRISM, a device to make booking an interpreter even easier and quicker. PRISM allows you to book a remote interpreter immediately, using our specially designed device. You can choose between a scheduled an on-demand telephone or video interpreter; there will be someone available, no matter the time of day.

Find out more about PRISM and our remote interpreting services by talking to your account manager or calling 020 3373 4000.

August dates for your diary

Calendar snapshots

1st – Lammas, Pagan

Lammas is an ancient festival that would mark the beginning of the harvest for Celtic agrarian communities. To honour the harvest, people often bake a loaf of bread and bring it to church, showing the overlap between old pagan ways and Christianity.

7th – Tish’a B’av, Judaism

This is the saddest festival in the Jewish calendar, and acts as a day of mourning for several tragedies to befall the Jews over the centuries, as far back as the destruction of the first temple in Jerusalem in 586 BCE, when 100,000 Jews were killed.

23rd - International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition

This day, started by UNESCO, marks the anniversary of the Haitian revolution, led by Toussaint Louverture, which was instrumental in bringing about the abolition of the Transatlantic Slave Trade. The day aims to keep the Transatlantic Slave Trade alive in our collective memory, and to examine the causes and consequences of it, some of which persist to this day.

This month’s dates at a glance

1st      Lammas – Pagan

Fast in honour of Holy Mother of Lord Jesus – Orthodox Christian

Lughnasadh – Imbolc – Wicca/Pagan

6th     Feast of Transfiguration of Our Lord – Christian

Transfiguration of the Lord – Orthodox Christian

7th     Tish’a B’av – Judaism

8th     Ashura – Islam

9th     International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

10th    Feast of Saint Lawrence – Christian

11th    Raksha Bandhan – Hindu

12th    International Youth Day

15th    Assumption of Blessed Virgin Mary – Catholic Christian

Dormition of the Theotokos – Orthodox Christian

18th    Krishna Janmashtami – Hindu

19th    World Humanitarian Day

22nd Queenship of Mary – Catholic Christian

International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence based on Religion or Belief

23rd   Paryushana Parvarambha begins – Jain

International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition

24th    Feast of Saint Bartholomew the Apostle – Christian

29th    Beheading of Saint John the Baptist – Christian

Summer Bank Holiday – England, Wales and Northern Ireland

31st    Ganesh Chaturthi – Hindu

Samvatsari – Jain.