Meet The Team: Jenai Campbell from the TLS Examinations Team

Every month, we introduce you to one of our team. This month, meet Jenai Campbell from the TLS Examinations Team.

Tell us about the role you do for TLS

I am a Service Coordinator for the Examinations Team at TLS, which entails quite a range of varied tasks, but I am principally involved in the Paper Setting assignments. On a day-to-day basis, I am usually creating and reviewing materials to be used in the remote exams, liaising with external freelancers who also assist with Paper Setting, or supporting the rest of the Examinations Team in miscellaneous duties.

What's been your favourite project at TLS?

I began working at TLS in November 2022, around the same time that the Paper Setting project, in which a new bank of materials is being created using a new format for the remote exams, was just beginning. Therefore, I have been able to witness and participate in the growth of this project along with the rest of the team and the new recruits along the way. Seeing the accumulation of materials and the improvements over time in the work submitted by freelancers that you have helped to support is extremely rewarding, and a motivating reminder of how my contributions manifest into results for the team.

What has been your biggest challenge?

I would say my biggest challenge so far was feeling confident in myself when I first had to start giving feedback about work that was submitted for use in the Paper Setting project. Despite knowing that it was constructive feedback, it took me a little while to have the confidence in myself to know that I was giving the correct advice and supporting the external team members correctly.

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

When asked as a child what my dream job would be, I used to say that I wanted to be a stunt double! Now, I would say that I would like to be a literary translator (slightly less risky). Having studied French and Spanish at university, and completed a master's in translation, I found that my love for languages and for reading were neatly combined in translating literature.

Tell us something interesting about you.

I restarted gymnastics last year, joining an adult gymnastics club. I previously did gymnastics between the ages of 4 and 8 years old, training 5 days a week for up to 4 hours per session, but stopped when my older sisters got injured because I didn't want to train without them! I took up pole fitness when I was at university and loved it but wanted to have another go at gymnastics when I moved back to London, so now I have fallen in love with the sport and training all over again (without the pressure of competing!).

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

I would love to meet Malorie Blackman. I loved reading her books growing up, I feel like she was a significant part of my childhood and as I've grown up and watched her interviews, or been to talks that she has delivered, I've come to learn what an inspiration she is.

What are your ambitions for the next 12 months?

Professionally, I would like to continue learning and developing my skills within the Examinations Team, particularly when it comes to the delivery side of the business. Personally, I would like to continue with swimming lessons which I began this year as a New Year's resolution, to conquer my fear of water!

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

Service under the Spotlight: Scheduled Video Interpreting

Each month, we get you better acquainted with a TLS service; when and why you might need it, how to book it and how to make the most of the booking.

You may be new to the world of booking language support, or perhaps you book the same service each time because you don’t know what else is out there, or perhaps you have never considered that something different might work for you – this is for you!

It is for you if:

you need the flexibility of having the conversation with your service user in any location, eg working from home, or you and your service user are not geographically close.

It is not for you if:

you need to build trust or rapport with your service user and interpreter – in sensitive situations, eg a mental health appointment, it is usually better to talk in person.

When it works best:

scheduled video interpreting is best for relatively uncomplicated and uncontroversial conversations with people who are comfortable using screens to communicate.

Tips to get the most from your booking:

  • Use our dedicated booking portal, to find and book your interpreter. This makes everything easy and quick. Once you know how to use it, you will be able to book a remote interpreter anywhere you have access to a computer.
  • Make sure you’re familiar with the technology you’ll be using in the booking – how to share your screen, how to mute yourself, how to make sure there’s nothing confidential on show.
  • Set parameters at the start of the booking. Most of us know how to behave in face to face situations, but remote meetings are still something of an unknown. Tell everyone how to interrupt politely, how to take turns, when to mute themselves.

If you would like to know more, call our bookings team for guidance and support on 0808 175 1230.

National Patient Participation Week 2023: Language services for the NHS

5-9 June 2023 is National Patient Participation Week and, as a language services provider to the NHS, we wanted to highlight the vital role our interpreters and translators play in empowering patients who don’t speak English fluently/confidently.

As NHS England says:

“Evidence tells us that supporting patients to be actively involved in their own care, treatment and support can improve outcomes and experience for them, and potentially yield efficiency savings for the system through more personalised commissioning and supporting people to stay well and manage their own conditions better.”

NHS England has made a commitment to become much better at involving patients (and their carers) by:

  • giving them the power to manage their own health and make informed decisions about their care and treatment;
  • and supporting them to improve their health and give them the best opportunity to lead the life that they want.

When it comes to making informed decisions and taking control of their own health, patients need to be able to fully understand the information and advice they are being given and this is where we come in for non-native speakers.

The Language Shop (tls) is the exclusive provider of fully managed language services (including spoken language, BSL interpreting and translation both remotely and face-to-face) to several NHS Trusts. As a social enterprise, we have social values around patient care and access at our core and our years of experience in the public sector means we also understand the pressures NHS staff are under. That’s why we ensure that, when an interpreter is needed, both staff and patients have instant access to the right people with the right skills and languages via things like our innovative on-ward tablet-based interpreter booking system.

We also build patient feedback mechanisms and multi-media patient communication into our NHS contract work to maximise their involvement not just in their care but also in their language support.

Want to find out more about our work with NHS Trusts? Get in touch.

June 2023 dates for your diary

Language and cultural calendar snapshots

4th – Pentecost

Pentecost celebrates the Holy Spirit appearing to Christ’s Apostles and other followers while they were celebrating the Feast of Weeks, or Shavuot. Celebrants pray all night and feast the following day – overindulgence is encouraged!

22nd  – UK Windrush Day

Marking the 75th anniversary since the famous ship’s arrival to UK shores, this day honours the contribution of Caribbean migrants to this country, and raises awareness of the scandal where so many have in recent years been illegally deported and stripped of their rights in this country.

24th – Litha

Litha is the Pagan and Wicca name for the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. Those celebrating believe that faeries cross over to our realm and offer blessings. It is also a time to rejoice in the abundance of early summer. Traditionally, fires were lit to encourage the sun in its journey and to welcome the second half of the year.


This month’s dates at a glance



4 –      Pentecost, Orthodox Christian

Trinity Sunday, Christian

8 –      The Feast of Corpus Christi, Catholic Christian

12 –    The Apostles’ Fast, Orthodox Christian

16 –    Feast of The Sacred Heart of Jesus, Catholic Christian

Martyrdom Of Guru Arjan Dev, Sikh

24 –    Litha, Wicca and Pagan

Nativity Of Saint John the Baptist, Christian

27 -1 Jul – Hajj, Islam

28 – Waqf Al Arafa, Islam

29 – Feast of Saints Peter And Paul, Christian

29 -2 Jul – Eid Al-Adha, Islam

 Awareness and events

4 –      International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression

10 –    Global Wellness Day

11 –    Race Unity Day

12 –    World Day Against Child Labour

12-18 – Men’s Health Week

15 –    World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

18 –    Autistic Pride Day

Father’s Day

19-25 – Refugee Week

20 –    World Refugee Day

21 –    Summer Solstice

22 –    UK Windrush Day

26-30 – School Diversity Week

Rare Language Fact File: Taushiro

Native to: The Peruvian Amazon

Number of native speakers: Thousands once spoke his language, now he's the only one.

Spoken by: The Taushiro tribe

Learn some: There is only one speaker of Taushiro left, but if you were to meet him, you could greet him with ‘uñuntero’, which is how you announce your friendly arrival.

Interesting facts:

  • The story of the Taushiro is tragic but familiar. The tribe resisted invasion and attempts to enslave them by various foreign and Peruvian interests, by moving deeper into the jungle, hiding and protecting their settlements with traps. By the end of the 20th century, almost no one from outside the tribe had seen them or heard their language, but they were unable to hold out against disease and encroachment on their jungle by outsiders, and there remains only one Taushiro.
  • In 2017, it was made official: there was a solitary speaker of Taushiro, who had nursed his brother as he lay dying from malaria, knowing that he was losing the last person with whom he would every speak his native tongue again. The speaker’s name is Amadeo García García and he is now in his 70s. You can watch an interview with him here.
  • Taushiro has a very simple numbering system, which only goes up to ten. Speakers would indicate numbers by holding up their fingers and saying the corresponding word: 1. Washikanto; 2. Ashini; 3. Washiunweantu; 4. Nekenene; and 5. Ukontawa. For numbers higher than ten, they would simply say ‘ashintu’ and point to their toes.

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: Hajj

When: 27 June-1 July 2023.

What: Hajj is a pilgrimage made by Muslims during the sacred and twelfth month of Dhul Hijjah.

Why: Making the pilgrimage is a requirement of all Muslims who are able, physically, economically and otherwise, at least once in their lives. It is one of the five pillars of Islam and is undertaken to bring pilgrims closer to Allah.

How: Approximately 2-3m Muslims gather each year for Hajj, though numbers have been limited by the Saudi Arabian authorities during the post-Covid era. Hajj has 18 steps for worshippers to follow and lasts over five to six days, with pilgrims walking between 5 and 15km every day around Mecca in Saudi Arabia. While it is a requirement only to make the pilgrimage once, Muslims are permitted to repeat the experience, provided it is done with the sole aim of coming closer to Allah.

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

Meet The Team: Abdul Kahar, English, Bengali Sylheti and Dhaka Interpreter

Every month, we introduce you to one of our team. This month, meet Abdul Kahar, one of our interpreters working in English, Bengali Sylheti and Dhaka.

  1. Tell us all about the role you do for TLS

My official role is freelance Bengali Sylheti/Dhaka interpreter, but I feel we do cultural/religious knowledge and insights.

  1. What's been your favourite project at TLS?

My favourite work is interpreting with family therapists affiliated with Children’s social services, which I do regularly.

  1. What has been your biggest challenge?

I once had to challenge an incident of prejudice from a professional at a conference meeting. I once attended a child protection case conference in another borough and a social worker kept making inappropriate comments about a child’s parent to me. The first time I said I don’t need to hear this as I’m only the interpreter, but they kept on. Then I said if they continued, I would have to let the independent chair of the meeting know. This helped and they stopped. I was worried they might have taken it personally and reported me for some other reason, thankfully they didn’t.

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

I would have liked to be either a counsellor/therapist or a football presenter, which leads to the next answer...

  1. Tell us something interesting about you.

During the last Football World Cup I co-presented a football show on Bangladeshi Television channel live. I love football and have a very good knowledge of the game, players and statistics, so a friend recommended me for this show, which was running for the whole tournament, every day at 5pm. It was a live programme talking about the beautiful game in Bengali and English, switching languages back and forth.

I thought I would be nervous, but I enjoyed it so much I looked forward to going in every day and doing my research whilst still doing the day job.

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

Bobby Moore, World Cup winning captain of West Ham FC, an excellent footballer and a great ambassador for the game.

  1. What are your plans for the next 12 months?

My ambition for the near future is to continue working for TLS and work as a Facilitator in Bengali for Caring Dads (for which I’m also trained.) Caring Dads is a perpetrator programme for fathers, offering men who have been violent or abusive support to become better fathers.

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

Service under the Spotlight: Face-to-face Interpreting

Each month, we get you better acquainted with a TLS service; when and why you might need it, how to book it and how to make the most of the booking.

You may be new to the world of booking language support, or perhaps you book the same service each time because you don’t know what else is out there, or perhaps you have never considered that something different might work for you – this is for you!

In this issue, we are looking at our face-to-face Interpreting. This is booked via our bespoke booking portal.

It is for you if:

You need to communicate for a prolonged time about something fairly complex.

It is not for you if:

You are in a hurry or making a last minute booking and just want to get quick and basic facts from a situation.

When it works best:

Face-to-face interpreting can be especially useful for establishing trust with a service user, particularly one you know you will see on more than one occasion.

Tips to get the most from your booking:

  • Share all the details you can before the booking takes place; eg what you want from the meeting/appointment, any problems that may arise
  • At the beginning of the booking, introduce everyone and, if it’s the first time your service user is meeting the interpreter, ensure that they understand the interpreter is there to convey what you are saying and not provide advice or emotional support
  • Speak clearly and avoid jargon, and pause regularly to allow the interpreter to speak to your service user.

If you would like to know more, call our bookings team for guidance and support on 0808 175 1230.

Mental Health Awareness Week 2023: Supporting interpreters working with vulnerable people

This week (15-21 May) is Mental Health Awareness Week 2023 and this year’s focus is on anxiety.

As a leading language services provider to the charity and public sector, protecting and supporting the mental health of our interpreters is a key priority for The Language Shop (tls).

We recognise that it is often those working to support vulnerable people to minimise the impact on their mental health, whose own mental health is overlooked. Our interpreters cover a whole range of assignments including within NHS settings such as hospitals and GP surgeries, for Local Authority Child Protection Services, within prison environments and for charities, where those they support may be facing homelessness and distress and are often at their most vulnerable.

It is not surprising that, while incredibly rewarding, the role can also be very stressful and it is vital that interpreters are able to effectively manage anxiety so that they can deliver the best service while protecting their own wellbeing.

There are a number of ways in which we support our interpreters to cope with these challenging situations.

Free access to a quarterly Interpreter Forum

We are acutely aware that interpreting assignments mostly involve working independently and this can have an impact on interpreters’ mental health, leading to feelings of anxiety and isolation. This is exactly why we set up the TLS Interpreter Forum.

A new quarterly online event exclusively for TLS interpreters, the forum facilitates peer-to-peer communication, the opportunity to provide feedback, discuss key topics and meet other interpreters working with TLS.

The date for our next interpreter forum will be announced soon.

TLS Assistance Programme

Our Assistance Programme provides support and advice on mental health, money, wellness, and employment issues; all areas that can create anxiety for our interpreters.

This includes our 24/7 counselling line which can be accessed as many times as required by all interpreters working for TLS, giving them peace of mind that there will always be someone available to help them through mental health issues they might experience.

Ongoing training and CPD

As part of our ongoing commitment to the continuous professional development of our interpreters, with many training events taking place throughout the year, our training often includes protecting the mental health and wellbeing of our interpreters.

A recent example was a personal safety training session for our British Sign Language (BSL) interpreters who work at Springfield Hospital. Find out more on what was covered in the training HERE.

To find out more about working as an interpreter for tls, get in touch HERE.

Rare Language Fact File: Spokane

Native to: Northwestern USA

Number of native speakers: approximately 64

Spoken by: The Spokane Nation

Learn some: ʔa x̣est skʷekʷst (pronounced ‘ahh khest skwekst’) means ‘good morning’. For more, including audio, go to

Interesting facts:

  • Spokane is the name given to a group of indigenous American tribes from this part of the country. It is commonly believed that the word ‘spokane’ means ‘children of the sun’. However, this is not exactly correct: Spokane was the name given to these tribes by white colonisers and is not used by indigenous people to refer to themselves. It seems that, while the word can mean sun, the name is simply a rendering of an 19th century tribal chief’s name into English.
  • We often think of indigenous Americans as nomads, and during the summer they did camp in the mountains, hunting and gathering food. But the Spokane Nation had permanent, underground homes along the Spokane River for the cold winter months.
  • The 19th century Gold Rush brought an influx of white settlers to the area, and in the scramble for land, many important religious and cultural sites were flooded, dug up or built upon. The Spokane people suffered the same fate as many other tribes, ending up on reservations where poverty and its attendant social problems were rife. The Nation was awarded a small amount of compensation by the US government in 1966 and again in 1981.

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.