TLS partners offer training to keep our interpreters at the top of their game

As part of TLS’s commitment to ongoing development and excellence, psychiatrist Dr Sarkis Garjarian, from the NHS North East London Foundation Trust, gave 150 of our freelance interpreters a tailored training course on ‘Working as an Interpreter with Clinical Staff’.

The training combined customer feedback points with Dr Garjarian’s expertise in the field, examining how interpreters could incorporate this feedback and ensure that customers and service users get the most from their bookings.


Don’t forget: as a customer, you are invited to join our free webinar training on how to get the most from interpreters. The one-off session lasts for 30 minutes and is held on a Wednesday morning, once a month. Find out more and book your place by emailing

US research shows professional language support leads to improved health outcomes

Research carried out over the course of the Covid-19 pandemic shows an improvement in the health outcomes of US-based patients who received language support.

In February of this year, a report noted the improvements for 10,000 Covid patients who had been provided with interpreters. This added to the growing body of evidence that targeted communication support increases adherence to treatment and improves interactions with healthcare professionals.

It was noted that satisfaction rates among those with limited English are still lower than for those who are native speakers, suggesting that cultural differences play a role and emphasising the need to do whatever possible to address the disparities in health outcomes.

The Language Shop (TLS) provides language support for medical appointments in the form of face to face, video or phone appointments. Our interpreters have a wide range of specialisms. Speak to your account manager or call 020 3373 4000 to find out more.


The Language Shop (tls) acknowledges the important role of interpreters during Refugee Week 2022

This week is Refugee Week 2022. Founded in 1998, it is a UK-wide festival celebrating the contributions, creativity, and resilience of refugees and people seeking sanctuary. This year’s poignant theme is ‘Healing’, recognising the human ability to start again following crisis. As a language services provider that works with a large number of refugee-related charitable organisations, we are acknowledging and celebrating the valuable work our interpreters play in supporting refugees on their journey.

Amy Soutter, Head of Client Delivery at The Language Shop (tls) explains:

“The role of our interpreters in supporting refugees is so invaluable and we are proud to work with a number of charity organisations that call on us to help deliver this. Our work with the likes of Médecins du Monde UK, Hackney Migrant Centre, and Refuge to name but a few, involves providing interpreter services to refugees, breaking down language barriers and opening lines of communication.”

Interpreters working on refugee-related assignments for The Language Shop (tls) get a great deal of satisfaction from supporting refugees to overcome the myriad of challenges they face when moving their whole life to a new country, often at very short notice with no time to prepare as a result of fleeing very difficult circumstances.

Suppalak Bird, Thai Interpreter for The Language Shop (tls), explains:

“I worked with therapists and psychologists who were helping a trafficked Thai woman who felt suicidal. It was a very challenging and sensitive case. In the end, all the hard work from everyone involved paid off. It was so rewarding to see how her life has changed remarkably.”

The Ukraine crisis is also an example of where The Language Shop (tls) has stepped up to support refugees fleeing war in its role as a social enterprise. Read more here about what our team is doing to support the shortage of Ukrainian interpreters and build a supportive and inclusive community of qualified translators and interpreters.

To find out more about the work The Language Shop (tls) does to support refugee charities and/or to enquire about becoming an interpreter, please visit


The Language Shop (tls) supports the upskilling of Ukrainian interpreters to address shortage

As a leading language service provider, The Language Shop (tls) is always ahead of the curve when it comes to foreseeing and understanding industry trends and the impact of global events on the demand for and availability of interpreters.

At the start of the Ukraine crisis in February 2022, as a social enterprise, The Language Shop (tls) was determined to play its part in ensuring that language interpreting services would be available to those entering the UK and immediately set up monitoring to establish the level of increase in demand for Ukrainian translators and interpreters.

The team also audited its Ukrainian interpreter community and engaged with them to understand current availability and capacity for taking on interpreting assignments as part of the UK’s response to the unfolding crisis.

Stephanie Bright, Resource and Compliance Manager at The Language Shop (tls) explains:

“We soon realised that there would not be enough suitably qualified interpreters to meet the substantial increase in demand for Ukrainian translators and interpreters, as a result of the Russian invasion. To address this we quickly allocated funds from our Social Value Fund to provide CIL3 qualifications for London-based bilinguals who wanted to train as an interpreter but were not able to fund a formal qualification. We are now proud to be playing our part in standing with Ukraine and have a number of new Ukrainian interpreters completing the course, with more in the pipeline.”  

The Language Shop (tls) is not the only language services provider to develop strategies to support the crisis and ensure that breaking down language barriers and opening lines of communication, quickly and appropriately is prioritised, the whole industry is getting behind the effort.

Stephanie continues:

“Those fleeing Ukraine are often arriving in the UK with the clothes on their backs as their only possessions. The charities and organisations supporting them need to be able to establish clear lines of communication as quickly as possible to help them feel safe and secure in their new surroundings. Interpreters play a massive role in this and as a social enterprise we are joining many others across the languages sector to focus on maximising all the ways in which we can help. Along with upskilling new interpreters we are also working with partner East London Foundation Trust to set up a peer support scheme between Ukrainian refugees and interpreters.”

The Language Shop (tls) also provides support services to a large number of charities, many of which will be helping Ukrainian citizens that enter the UK. Its interpreters are experienced in working with vulnerable people in challenging situations, including those living the fallout of war.

The Ukrainian-German interpreter Kateryna Rietz-Rakul recently went viral on social media after breaking into tears while interpreting a press conference by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. MultiLingual Magazine explained “for many both inside and outside the language industry, the vulnerable moment was a reminder of the often-difficult circumstances interpreters endure to do their jobs”. We are proud to be joining the whole language services industry to get behind the effort to increase the number of interpreters available as well as providing our Ukrainian interpreters with a number of support initiatives.

If you are a Ukrainian interpreter or interested in qualifying to become one please get in touch with The Language Shop (tls) to learn about the opportunities we have available to you. Please note all new interpreters must be able to gain an up-to-date DBS check, The Language Shop team can provide support with  this.

If you require English to Ukrainian or Ukrainian to English translation and interpretation services, please get in touch here.


Rare language fact file: Andamanese languages


At The Language Shop we like to shine a light on some of the rarer languages spoken across the world, many of which have long and fascinating histories. This month we take a closer look at the Andamanese languages.

Native to: The Andaman Islands

Number of native speakers: Approximately 344

Spoken by: People living on the Andaman Islands

Learn some: Despite being tiny, the islands are home to very distinct languages. Bengali is the most widely spoken language across the islands, so a safe bet for greeting people is nomoshkar, which is the Bengali for hello.

Interesting facts:

  • Great Andamanese is unlike any other language on the planet and is believed to be one of the very few remaining palaeolithic languages. This language is distinct from those spoken by other tribes on the islands, the Jarawas and the Onges; for example, eye in Jarawa and Onges languages is ejebo, whereas in Great Andamanese it is ulu.
  • The British built a penal colony on the Andaman Islands in the second half of the 19th century. Prior to this, there was no written record of the Andamanese, but indications are that as many as 5,000 islanders lived there. With an influx of foreigners on the islands, by 1961 there were just 19 Andamanese left, due to disease and poor living conditions.
  • Possibly in response to this, the Sentinelese islanders, whose homes lie to the west of the main Archipelago, are extremely resistant to any contact with the rest of the world. They are known to have killed people for coming near to their island, including a Christian missionary as recently as 2018. As a result, almost nothing is known about them or their language.

The Language Shop provides support in any language you may need, including many of the rarer ones. Get in touch with us to find out more.

Keep up to date with all our latest news here and on social media  – we are on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

woman holding flowers and candles for Akshaya Tritiya

Celebrations around the world: Akshaya Tritiya, 3rd May

woman holding flowers and candles for Akshaya Tritiya

The Language Shop explores the festivals and events celebrated by different cultures around the world. This month we look at Akshaya Tritiya, which takes place on 3rd May.

What: Akshaya Tritiya is an annual celebration of spring in India and Nepal for Hindus and Jains.

Why: The day falls on the birthday of Parasurama, the sixth incarnation of Vishnu. It also commemorates Krishna visiting Draupadi, wife of a prince, in a time of famine, with a magical bowl that would remain full until all the prince’s otherwordly guests had been fed.

How: This annual celebration is considered an auspicious day to start new ventures, get married and buy gold. People celebrate the day by praying to their relatives who have passed. Some fast or give away possessions in the pursuit of blessings from the Almighty.

Keep up to date with all our latest news here and on social media  – we are on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn


Meet The Team: Omead Hussain, Freelance Interpreter

Omead Hussain, Freelance Interpreter

Every month, we introduce you to one of our team. This month, meet Omead Hussain, one of our freelance interpreters working in English, Arabic and Kurdish.

Tell us about the role you do for TLS

My role is to bridge the communication gap between two or more parties who do not speak the same language. We must be impartial and I cannot favour the client or the other side.

What's been your favourite project at TLS?

The video project I did with Newham Council to improve communication with children and young adults in the social care system. The project produced videos that explain 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. The videos are in the languages most common in Newham (other than English); Kurdish and Arabic are two of these languages.

What has been your biggest challenge?

Inability to hear the speaker, cultural knowledge and interpreting jokes, humour and sarcasm.

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

I wanted to be a civilian pilot or a famous actor.

Tell us something interesting about you.

When I was in Kurdistan/Iraq, I was a head of department and lecturer at a university. I loved my job so much as I like administration and leadership, but unfortunately I did not find an opportunity here in Britain to be a university professor. I love to travel - for both business and leisure. I really enjoy reading and like change, whether in my field of work or my life. I am really interested in football and my favourite team is Liverpool. I like quiet music.

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

My Mum and Dad both passed away a long time ago, not a day goes by when I don’t think about something I would like to ask them or tell them. My country did not have good health services so I would've liked to take them to the best specialist doctor, but at the time I couldn't afford to take them abroad to treat them.

What are your ambitions for the rest of the year?

Travel the world, win the lottery, be financially secure, buy a house and apply for a PhD.

Say hello to Omead on The Language Shop’s social media – we are on FacebookTwitter and LinkedInKeep up to date with all our latest news here.

Rare language fact file: Ladino

Book with rosetta stone on the front cover and the title 'Fact files: Ladino' against orange background

At The Language Shop we like to shine a light on some of the rarer languages spoken across the world, many of which have long and fascinating histories. This month we take a closer look at Ladino.

Native to: Europe, but predominantly spoken in Israel

Number of native speakers: Less than 60,000

Spoken by: Some groups of Sephardic Jews

Learn some Ladino: If someone sneezes, the Ladino way to respond is a bit longer than the English. They say: “Bivas, kreskas, engrandeskas, komo un peshiko en aguas freskas! Amen!”

Interesting facts:

  • In 1492, Jews living in Spain were forced to either convert to Catholicism or leave. Many fled elsewhere, blending their own language of Old Spanish with Hebrew and the languages of the countries where they settled. The language that evolved was called Judeo-Spanish Ladino. Because the Spanish Jews fled to many different countries, Ladino has a large variety of dialects.
  • Ladino has struggled to survive, in part because the community was fractured and its people eventually adopted the various languages of the countries they settled in. In addition to this, the first waves of Jewish diaspora in the US were from mostly Germany and Eastern Europe, and Yiddish became the language of the Jewish community there. There is now a movement to revive the language, driven by Sephardic Jews in the US.
  • Ladino was immortalised by Hollywood in the 1986 film, Every Time We Say Goodbye, starring Tom Hanks. In the film, Tom Hanks’ character, a gentile, falls in love with a Sephardic Jewish girl, whose family speaks Ladino.

The Language Shop provides support in any language you may need, including many of the rarer ones. Get in touch with us to find out more.

Keep up to date with all our latest news here and on social media  – we are on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

April dates for your diary

Calendar snapshots

14th – Vaisakhi, Sikh and Hindu

This date marks the solar new year for both Hindus and Sikhs. It is also important to Sikhs as it commemorates the founding of the religion in 1699 under the tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh.

15th – Good Friday, Christian

Good Friday marks the start of the Easter weekend. It marks the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ, the Christian messiah. It is observed with special church services.

18th – Easter Sunday, Christian

Following the crucifixion, Christians believe that Jesus rose again on Easter Sunday, ascending to heaven. This makes Easter one of the most important festivals of the year for Christians and it is marked with special church services, giving gifts and eating special food, especially chocolate.

April dates

3rd Ramadan begins (Islam)
14th Vaisakhi (Sikh, Hindu)
15th Good Friday
15th - 23rd Passover - begins sunset of Friday, ends nightfall of Saturday; no work permitted 15-16 and 22-23. Work permitted on 17-21 with certain restrictions. (Judaism)
17th Easter Sunday (Christian)
18th Easter Monday (Christian)
20th - 24th National Stalking Awareness Week
21st First day of Ridván (Bahá’í)
23rd St George's Day
25th - 1st Lesbian Visibility Week
29th Ninth Day of Ridván (Bahá’í)
29th Laylat al-Qadr (Islam)

Are you celebrating any festivals this month? Please get in touch and tell us all about it! Email

Keep up to date with all our latest news here and on social media  – we are on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

Lit lantern in darkness for Ramadan

Celebrations around the world: Ramadan, 2nd April - 1st May

Lit lantern in darkness for Ramadan

The Language Shop explores the festivals and events celebrated by different cultures around the world. This month we look at Ramadan, which takes place from 2nd April to 1st May, depending on lunar sighting.

What: The Islamic holy month of fasting, abstention, prayer and charity.

Why: It was during this month that the Islamic holy book, the Qur’an, was revealed to the Prophet Muhammed. Muslims fast and abstain from impure thoughts and behaviour during this sacred time to bring themselves closer to God. Going without food and drink during the day also reminds Muslims of the suffering of others in the world. Fasting during Ramadan is known as Sawm, and is one of the five pillars of Islam.

How: In addition to fasting and abstention between sunset and sunrise, Muslims attend special services at their mosque, and many attempt to read the entire Qur’an over the course of the month. Zakat, or giving to charity, is another pillar of Islam, so it is always important to Muslims. However, during Ramadan, it takes on even more importance. Eid al-Fitr marks the end of the month with a two to three day celebration, involving lots of eating, drinking and dressing in your best clothes.

If you are observing Ramadan, we would love to hear about it. Please email

Keep up to date with all our latest news here and on social media  – we are on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn