May dates for your diary

Calendar snapshots

1st – Beltane, Celtic/Wiccan/Pagan

Beltane is an ancient Celtic festival, welcoming summer and letting the cattle out into the open pastures. Celebrants light bonfires and in rural Ireland, cattle were traditionally led between two fires in order to protect them from disease.

2nd – Eid al Fitr, Islamic

This Eid marks the end of the Muslim Holy Month of Ramadan. The day begins with communal prayer (salat), after which typically follows a lot of feasting and celebration.

6th – Vesak, Buddhist

This is the most important festival of the year for Theravada Buddhists, and honours the birth, enlightenment and death of the Buddha. It is marked with special services and good deeds, like the release of birds previously held captive.

May dates

1st Beltane (Wicca/Pagan, Northern and Southern hemispheres)
2nd Twelfth Day of Ridvan (Baha’i)
Eid al Fitr (Islam)
Birthday of Guru Arjan Dev (Sikh)
Bank Holiday – England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and ROI
3rd Feast of Saints Philip and James (Catholic Christian)
Akshaya Tritiya (Hindu, Jain)
World Press Freedom Day
4th Yom HaZikaron (Judaism)
International Firefighters Day
5th Yom Ha’Atzmaut (Judaism)
6th Vesak (Buddhist)
8th World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day
12th International Nurses Day
15th International Day of Families
17th International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia
19th Lag BaOmer (Judaism)
Global Accessibility Awareness Day
21st World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development
22nd International Day for Biological Diversity
23rd Birthday of Guru Amar Das (Sikh)
24th Declaration of the Báb (Baha’i)
26th Ascension Day – Christian
29th Ascension of Baha’u’llah (Baha’i)
Yom Yerushalayim (Judaism)
International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers
31st Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Catholic Christian)
World No Tobacco Day

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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)

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European Language Industry Survey results

European language industry shows steady growth, says survey

European Language Industry Survey results

The results of the 2022 European Language Industry Survey are in. Launched in 2013 by the European Union of Associations of Translation Companies (EUATC), this year's survey aimed to get a picture of the industry’s response to the last 18 months of pandemic-related disruption.

The news was broadly good; business has remained buoyant following the initial lockdown. There has been less innovation than before the pandemic, possibly reflected by the anxiety many organisations feel about the future. However, market growth for the last financial year is expected to be similar to that pre-covid, demonstrating the resilience of the European language industry and the ever-present demand for international communication.

Read about the results in more detail here.

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March dates for your diary

Calendar snapshots

1st – Shrove Tuesday, Christian

Shrove Tuesday marks the last day before Christians’ 40 day fast for Lent. In the UK, we traditionally eat pancakes. In other countries, Mardi Gras (literally Fat Tuesday) is celebrated with street carnivals, music and excess.

14th – Nanakshahi, Sikh

The Nanakshahi calendar was only introduced in 2003, to fix most Sikh celebrations rather than have them change date each year. The calendar is named after Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism.

18th – Holi, Hindu

Holi is a lively Indian celebration that involves throwing coloured powder paint and water at each other. It is often celebrated on the full moon before the beginning of the Vernal Equinox, as per the Hindu calendar.

March calendar

1st Intercalary Days (end) - Baha'l
Saint David's Day - Christian
Shrove Tuesday - Christian
Maha Shivaratri - Hindu
International Wheelchair Day
Zero Discrimination Day
2nd Nineteen Day Fast begins - Baha'l
Ash Wednesday - Christian
3rd World Hearing Day
6th Cheesefare Sunday - Orthodox Christian
7th Great Lent begins/Clean Monday - Orthodox Christian
8th International Women's Day
13th Sunday of Orthodoxy - Orthodox Christian
14th Nanakshahl (New Year) - Sikh
15th Lord's Evening Meal - Jehovah's Witness
16th Purim - Judaism
17th Saint Patricks' Day - Christian
Holika Dahan - Hindu
Bank Holiday - Northern Ireland and ROI
18th Holi - Hindu
Lailat al Bara'ah - Islam
Global Recycling Day
19th Hola Mohalla - Sikh
20th Spring Equinox
Ostara/Mabon - Wicca/Pagan
International Day of Happiness
21st Naw-Ruz (New Year) - Baha'l
Norooz (New Year) - Persian/Zoroastrian
International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
World Down Syndrome Day
25th The Annunciation of the Virgin Mary - Christian
Annunciation to the Theotokos - Orthodox Christian
Internationnal Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade
26th Khordad Sal (Birth of Prophet Zarathushtra) - Zoroastrian
27th Mothering Sunday
British Summer Time begins
30th World Bipolar Day
31st International Transgender Day of Visibility

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Groundbreaking MRI shows benefits of medical translation

A £1.2m investment by the University of Aberdeen underlines the importance of communicating to patients in their own language.

A new MRI scanner at the university can now give patients information and instructions in 17 different languages, including the rare Scots language of Doric. In addition to the importance of giving medical information clearly, the move is also in recognition of the comfort that good communication can bring patients.

Simon Gall, public engagement officer with the Institute, says: “My grandmother, a Doric speaker who has dementia, struggles now with communication in English, but when … medical professionals use Scots, she is much more responsive.”

At TLS, we always use qualified interpreters, many of whom have specialist health skills and experience. If you would like to know more, get in touch.

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No more exam halls: TLS remote examinations

The Ministry of Defence is just one customer using examination services developed by TLS, which we tailor to each organisation’s requirements.

Working across 70 languages, we remotely assess candidates at all levels of ability, from anywhere in the world with an internet connection. For the MoD, this has proven invaluable to their ‘boots on the ground’, who cannot easily fly home for exams.

Covid lockdown also meant that many educational institutions were unable to sit students together in exam halls. Our remote examination services have allowed the University of West London and the International School of Music to keep examining students throughout, too. Due to the success of these, the university has made the remote assessment a permanent fixture.

Find out more about our examination services.

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February dates for your diary

Calendar snapshots

1st February: Chinese New Year

This huge celebration is also known as Spring Festival and, as Chinese people return home to see family, creates one of the biggest movements of people worldwide. Celebrations include sweeping out the home, giving gifts of money in traditional red envelopes, putting up traditional paper decorations and eating special foods.

5th February: Vasant Panchami

This festival also welcomes spring and kicks off preparations for Holi, another Indian celebration. Hindus and Jains pray to Goddess Saraswati and many dress in yellow to symbolise the new beginnings of the season.

27th February: Meatfare Sunday

For Orthodox Christians, this date is the last opportunity to eat meat before Lent begins, and many will fast until Easter. Celebrations on this day tend to involve getting together with family and feasting on meat, in preparation for the forty days of privation ahead.


February calendar

1st Chinese New Year – Confucian, Daoist, Buddhist
Imbolc – Lughnassadh – Wicca/Pagan
World Hijab Day
World Interfaith Harmony Week begins
2nd Candlemas (Presentation of Christ in the Temple) – Christian
3rd Setsubun-sai – Shinto
4th World Cancer Day
5th Vasant Panchami – Hindu
6th Zacchaeus Sunday – Orthodox Christian
Time to Talk Day
7th UK Race Equality Week begins
8th Safer Internet Day
11th International Day of Women and Girls in Science
World Day of the Sick
12th Red Hand Day for Child Soldiers
13th Triodion begins – Orthodox Christian
Autism Sunday
14th Saint Valentine’s Day
15th Parinirvana Day/Nirvana Day – Buddhist
International Childhood Cancer Day
16th Magha Puja (Sangha Day) – Buddhist
17th World Human Spirit Day
20th Sunday of the Prodigal Son – Orthodox Christian
World Day of Social Justice
25th Intercalary Days begin – Baha’i
International stand up to Bullying Day
27th Meatfare Sunday – Orthodox Christian
28th Lailat al Miraj – Islam

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Celebrations around the world: Lailat al Miraj, 28th February

TLS delves deeper into the festivals and events celebrated by different cultures around the world. This month we look at Lailat al Miraj on 28th February.

What: Lailat al Miraj is one of Islam’s most important dates, as it marks the Prophet Mohammed’s ascension into heaven.

Where: It is celebrated by Muslims across the world, both in mosques and family homes.

Why: The story of Lailat al Miraj begins in Mecca, where the Prophet was visited by two archangels. The angels gave the Prophet a winged animal called a Buraq, which he then rode from Mecca to the ‘farthest mosque’, Al Aqsa in Jerusalem. The Prophet ascended to heaven where he met all the previous prophets and joined them in prayer. Eventually he met God, who passed down the special instructions for Muslims to pray five times daily, known as ‘Salat’.

How: Celebrations are held in mosques or at home, where people make special additions to their night-time prayers. Parents also recite the story to their children.

Are you celebrating Leilat al Miraj? Please get in touch and tell us all about it! Email

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British Sign Language bill receives government support

Two deaf students in library using British Sign Language

A Labour MP has received cross-party backing for a bill that would make British Sign Language (BSL) an officially recognised language. This would compel the government and public bodies to follow new guidance on BSL support for service users. The bill would also call for a British Sign Language Council to be set up, to promote the use of the language.

The bill must now go to committee stage, but its support from across the political spectrum in the Commons will give it a considerable advantage.

If you have a service user who needs BSL support, please call 020 3373 4000 to arrange a booking pr contact us on

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Translation of Covid-19 information essential to public health, say health campaigners

Lateral flow rapid antigen tests for covid-19

In Australia, a recent move to more home testing for Covid-19 has once again highlighted the importance of translating health information into community languages.

Health campaigners have asked the Australian government to provide information to those without English on why they should test, how to test and what to do with the results.

In the US, local government bodies have also come in for criticism for a series of poor translations of Covid-19 related public health information. The Biden administration has released information on home testing in the country’s leading languages of English, Spanish and Mandarin, but campaigners fear this still leaves many without access to vital information.

The Australian campaign has asked for images on how to test to be included in instructions. In the UK, NHS home testing kits already provide pictograms, so that anyone with limited English and literacy is able to conduct the tests. Translations of the information are also available in many community languages online here.

If your service users need information provided in their own language by a qualified translator, please get in touch.

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