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

Are you celebrating any festivals this month? Please get in touch and tell us all about it! Email nicole.kershaw@newham.gov.uk.

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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.

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

 

 


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

Are you celebrating any festivals this month? Please get in touch and tell us all about it! Email nicole.kershaw@newham.gov.uk.

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


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 nicole.kershaw@newham.gov.uk

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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 languageshop@newham.gov.uk

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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.

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


Customer survey results give TLS a glowing report

TLS customer survey report

It has been another year of rapid change and growth for TLS. We continue to meet the challenges of the global pandemic, building on our remote services and refining our processes so that we can provide you with a seamless, high-quality service, whatever the changing circumstances.

With our customer survey launched late last year, we were keen to find out how the changes we have been making are going down with you, our customers.

The headline news from the results is that our remote (telephone and video) interpreting services are increasingly popular, with 87% of customers having used them. What is more, they are even more well-received: 89% of respondents said that they found the booking process easy or very easy (up from 85% in 2020), and 88% reported that the language support they received was of high or very high quality (up from 80%). Nothing makes us happier than word of mouth recommendations, and these were up too: 98% would recommend our remote services to a colleague or friend, compared to 97% in 2020.

Overall, satisfaction with TLS support staff was very high too, with 97% reporting that the team was friendly and polite, and 96% saying the support they provided was excellent or good.

We are delighted with these results and look forward to building on the successes of last year.

If you would like to know more about the results of our customer survey or have any other feedback, please contact Nicole Kershaw by emailing nicole.kershaw@newham.gov.uk

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Holocaust Memorial Day, 27th January

What: Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) is an international day of commemoration for the six million Jews and others who died at the hands of the Nazis, as well as those who have since died in genocides elsewhere in the world.

Where: HMD can be marked anywhere in the world.

Why: The date of 27 January was chosen to mark the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp, by the Soviet Red Army. The day serves as a reminder of our shared history, and why it is important to remain vigilant to injustice. The day is not only about avoiding future genocide but also resisting persecution and discrimination. With anti-Semitism and other racism on the rise, it remains as important as ever.

How: Anyone can hold an HMD activity. The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust website has advice about how, where and when, as well as free images and resources. Visit their site for more information on the day and how to host an event.

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


Celebrations around the world: Lohri, 13th January

TLS delves deeper into the festivals and events celebrated by different cultures around the world. This month we look at Lohri, which takes place on 13th January..

What: Lohri is a celebration honouring Agni, the god of fire, which marks the winter solstice and gives thanks for the harvest, which is just beginning to come to fruition in January. Festivities take place during the month of Paush or Magh, so the date is not fixed in the Gregorian (western) calendar and changes each year.

Where: Lohri is celebrated mainly in the Punjab and Haryana regions of India, however the Indian diaspora hold celebrations across the world.

Why: As well as giving thanks for the harvest, Lohri celebrations often also refence a folk hero. In 16th century Punjab, there was a Rajput peasant called Dulla Bhattiwala. He came from a long line of rebels against Mughal rule and was similarly inclined. Bhattiwala would save girls who had been sold into slavery, often marrying them off and paying the dowry himself. He is sometimes called the Robin Hood of Punjab! His name is celebrated in a traditional Punjabi song that is performed during Lohri.

How: The centre of Lohri celebrations is the bonfire, around which people dance and sing special songs. Families exchange gifts and sweets, and eat makki ki roti (corn based roti) and sarson ka saag (spinach, mustard leaves and fenugreek cooked together).

Are you celebrating Lohri? Please get in touch and tell us all about it by emailing nicole.kershaw@newham.gov.uk.

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