Celebrations around the world: Diwali, 2nd - 6th November

Diwali, also known as Deepavali, is celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains. It takes place over five days, around the beginning of November.

Diwali falls at the beginning of the Hindu new year and celebrates the triumph of light over darkness, both in the sense of the fireworks and diwas that are used to illuminate the joyous occasion and in the metaphorical victory of knowledge over ignorance. Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth, is honoured during the festival, and celebrations are also linked to the famous legend of lovers Rama and Sita, who were welcomed back from their exile in the forest with a row of diwa lamps.

Each of Diwali’s five days has its own name and is celebrated differently. Dhanteras is for cleaning the home and buying new items for the home. Choti Diwali is when people decorate their homes and create rangoli designs on the floors. The third day, the most important, is Diwali, and this is when homage is paid to Lakshmi, lights are lit, firework displays are held and families get together to eat. Padwa is for husbands and wives to exchange gifts, and the final day of Bhai Duj is for siblings to celebrate their bond.

Are you celebrating Diwali? Please get in touch and tell us how! We would love to hear from you, email nicole.kershaw@newham.gov.uk

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Language industry remains buoyant despite pandemic - group of language students smiling

Language industry remains buoyant despite pandemic

Language industry remains buoyant despite pandemic - group of language students smiling

Slator, which provides intelligence on the language industry, has reported a huge surge in bookings in the last months of 2021.

The Language Industry Job Index (LIJI) was launched in July 2018, and has recorded growth of 65 points since then. A vast 55 points have been recorded since the beginning of 2021, bringing the index to its highest point ever.

This is encouraging news for the language industry, which has weathered the pandemic. We hope to see this trend continue in 2022!

Read about this in more detail at slator.com.

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TLS specialist interpreting conference a success

TLS interpreting conference in health and social care a success

On Thursday 14th October TLS and partners from the NHS North East London Foundation Trust joined forces to provide our first ever Health and Social Care Interpreting conference.

A diverse range of stakeholders gave presentations, including a number of interpreters and representatives from the Trust, such as Harjit Bansal, the Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, and Jaimin Patel, Managing Director of TLS. An interactive session and Q&A gave the audience a chance to get involved, and the day finished with a topical talk on interpreting for refugees and asylum seekers.

If you missed this one, keep an eye on TLS' news as we are hoping to run a smaller interpreting conference in the new year!

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Celebrations of the dead around the world

Celebrations of the dead - Person in full face paint for Dia de los Muertos

Around the northern hemisphere, many different cultures take part in celebrations of the dead at the point where summer turns to autumn. Among these are: Samhain (Gaelic), Dziady (Slavic), Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead)(Mexican), Hop-tu-naa (Isle of Man), Halloween/All Souls Day (European and American), Calan Gaeaf (Welsh).

Pre-Christian cultures in Europe ushered in the dark days of autumn and winter with these festivals, many believing that during this time of transition, spirits could walk the earth. There is still debate about why this coincides with the Christian three-day remembrance of the dead (All Hallow’s/Saints’ Eve, All Hallows’/Saints’ Day, All Souls’ Day), which has even been blended with Mesoamerican culture in the Mexican Dia de los Muertos.

Every celebration varies in its specifics, however most involve fire and light - either used as guides for spirits or as a way to ward them off - offerings to the dead in the form of food and drink, and special prayers. Halloween and Dia de los Muertos have been popularised and have evolved alongside modern life with their own, more recent traditions.

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

NELFT and TLS present 'Interpreting in Health and Social Care' online conference

Interpreting in health and social care conference

NELFT Medical education department, Equality, Diversity & Inclusion team and The Language Shop are pleased to present an exciting online conference on Thursday 14th October, designed to bring together professionals to be informed about the latest developments in interpreting and translation services.

The aim of the conference is to promote collaboration and working partnership between health & social care professionals, interpreters and service users. The conference will increase awareness of the interpreting and translating services that are available to all staff; share good practice; improve accessibility for our patients and service users; minimise risk across services.

The topics covered will include:

  • Working with refugees, asylum seekers and interpreters
  • Case studies
    • Social care perspective
    • Patient perspective from the deaf community
    • Interpreter perspective
  • Language Shop
    • NELFT staff survey results
    • TLS new service
    • changes
  • Working with interpreters
    • Presentation and interactive session

Attendance to this event will meet your compliance with the mandatory equality & diversity inclusion training.

Date: Thursday 14th October
Time: 9:30- 15:30
Location: Zoom
Audience: All NELFT multi professional staff and Social Care Practitioners
Cost: Free for all

Please email nicole.kershaw@newham.gov.uk to register.

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Sign in a clinic with information about Covid-19 vaccination programme

The Language Shop provides interpreting services for Covid-19 vaccination centres

Sign in a clinic with information about Covid-19 vaccination programme

Back in February TLS launched a scheme to support vaccination centres within the North East London Foundation Trust area, We provided telephone and video interpreting services to bridge the communication gap so that non-English speakers could understand all of the information regarding Covid-19 vaccinations and give their informed consent to receive the jab.

We expanded this by adding British Sign Language (BSL) support to our offering in May. This allowed deaf patients receiving vaccines at centres in Chingford, Romford and Barking access to a remote BSL interpreter who could answer any questions or concerns they may have. As time is critical when vaccinating so many people, we ensured deaf patients received this support within 90 seconds of making the request.

We are proud to be able to play a part in helping the vaccination programme by making vaccine information more accessible, so that everyone can help keep themselves and each other safe during the pandemic.

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TLS customer service survey results

customer service survey - girl doing written assessment at laptop

At your service

At tls, customer service is a priority. In some cases, interpreting is taking place in life-or-death situations and a mistranslated word can be catastrophic to the health, wellbeing or freedom of the patient/defendant/client. We recently conducted a customer service survey with more than 200 customers to get their feedback on the service they received. The results were outstanding.

Here are some of the headlines:

  • 85% found booking a remote interpreter ‘very easy’ or ‘easy’
  • 80% found tls telephone and video interpreters to be ‘very high quality’ or ‘high quality’
  • 97% of bookers would recommend tls remote interpreting to colleagues or friends
  • 97% of bookers said they would recommend tls face-to-face interpreters to a colleague or friend
  • 92% found booking a face-to-face interpreter ‘very easy’ or ‘easy’
  • 86% found tls face-to-face interpreters to provide ‘very high quality’ or ‘high quality’ language support

“They do an amazing job! Ours is a multidisciplinary team and often our work involves crisis work and interpreters are needed at short notice. They always respond politely and efficiently and offer advice. This helps me as a booker to understand the options and advise my team accordingly. I really value working with this team and strongly recommend this service continues in the long-term future, both with face to face and virtual services.”

Westminster Homelessness Team CNWL NHS Trust



COVID vaccines for TLS interpreters

Defence on the frontline

Many of our customers work in local authorities or NHS trusts in London. During the current pandemic, it is vital our staff and customers remain safe. At the beginning of January our interpreters were classified as key workers and within four days all 400+ of our London based team were offered the coronavirus vaccine by our NHS partners. Our sincere thanks to them.

TLS continues to innovate during lockdown

Essential data for the NHS

Because lockdown restrictions around COVID are preventing us from issuing essential paperwork manually, tls has created a digital timesheet for our professional clients. We can ensure it is delivered directly to the doctor, social worker or physiotherapist, and doesn’t get lost in the admin system. It also asks for feedback on the service they have received with tls's telephone and online services, allowing us to collect a much wider range of feedback direct from professionals. This not only provides greater insight into how we can improve our services to customers, but also offers invaluable help to the NHS in its evaluation of new technology to deliver services during the pandemic, a key objective for the NHS this year.