July dates for your diary

5th – Birthday of Guru Hargobind, Sikh

This day is an important festival in northern India. Guru Hargobind created the Sikh army, allowing Sikhs to defend themselves during the Mughal Empire. For this reason, many celebrations in India feature displays of Sikh martial arts.

16th – Asalha Puja (Dharma Day), Buddhist

The wheel of Dharma is a Buddhist symbol representing the cycle of life and rebirth. Asalha Puja celebrates the birth of the religion, marking the moment when Buddha gave his first sermon. This is often described as the first turning of the wheel of Dharma. The day marks the start of a three-month long meditation and fasting.

23rd – Birthday of Emperor Haile Selassie – Rastafari

Haile Selassie was crowned Emperor of Ethiopia in 1930, coinciding with a growing anti-colonial movement in Jamaica. He became integral to the founding of the Rastafarian religion. Some Rastafarians believe him to be their messiah; some see him as a human prophet. His birthday is a cause for celebration each year.


This month’s dates at a glance

5th     Birthday of Guru Hargobind – Sikh

7th     Hajj – Islam

Birthday of Guru Har Krishan – Sikh

8th     Waqf al Arafa – Islam

9th     Eid al-Adha – Islam

10th   Martyrdom of the Báb – Baha’i

11th   World Population Day

12th   Orangemen’s Day, Bank Holiday – Northern Ireland

13th   Asalha Puja (Dharma Day) – Buddhist

14th   International Non Binary People’s Day

15th   Saint Vladimir the Great Day – Orthodox Christian,

World Youth Skills Day

17th   World Day for International Justice

18th   Nelson Mandela International Day

22nd Feast of Saint Mary Magdalene – Christian

23rd   Birthday of Emperor Haile Selassie – Rastafari

24th   Pioneer Day – Mormonism

25th   Saint James the Great Day – Christian

28th   World Hepatitis Day

30th   Al-Hijra/Muharram – New Year – Islam,

International Day of Friendship,

World Day against Trafficking Persons.

Rare language fact file: Mudburra

Native to: Australian Northern Territory

Number of native speakers: 47

Spoken by: The Mudburra people

Learn some: Most Mudburra people speak several languages, including English, so you are unlikely to need it! But if you had Mudburra guests, you could wish them bon appetit by saying “nganja!”

Interesting facts:

  • Mudburra is similar to some other Australian aboriginal languages in that it has a signed element. Many words have their own signs, which can stand in for the spoken words or accompany them. The Mudburra dictionary, published in 2019, is the first to include physical signs alongside the words.
  • Mudburra shares similarities with other aboriginal languages from a relatively large area, and shares almost 100% of its nouns with a language called Jingulu. In pre-colonial times, tribes would mix regularly to trade or share resources. Nowadays, Mudburra children tend not to learn the language, opting instead for English and Kriol, a hybrid of English and aboriginal languages.
  • In 2020, a Mudburra musician called Ray Dimakarri Dixon released an album of songs that blend English and Mudburra. The songs call for protection for the Mudburra land, which is under threat from fracking. Dixon said: “I was writing songs in English, but then I thought that being a strong Mudburra man that it’s better for my country to give my message to my people from my language. We don’t want to lose that culture. We want to keep it strong.” Read more about it and listen to the songs here.

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: Eid al-Adha (Islam), 9-13 July

What: Eid al-Adha is the second of the two Eids and is known as Greater Eid, or Big Eid. Greater Eid takes place at the completion of Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia.

Why: Eid al-Adha translates as Feast of the Sacrifice, because it celebrates the Prophet Ibrahim. According to scripture, Ibrahim was willing to sacrifice his beloved son to God, showing his unfailing devotion. At the last moment, God replaced the child with a ram; during Eid, animals are sacrificed in honour of this story.

How: Muslims celebrate Eid by getting together with loved ones, dressing up in new clothes and giving gifts.

People also congregate in mosques for Eid Salaah (prayers) in the morning of the first day of Eid. Traditionally, Qurbani/Udhiya, or sacrifice, takes place afterwards. The animal must be over a certain age and slaughtered according to halal practices. The qurbani meat is then divided up: one third for you and your family; one third for friends, and the final third to those in need. Nowadays, many Islamic charities are set up so that Muslims can donate qurbani more easily to those in need around the world.

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

Bailey (aka Bee) Sage, Graduate Projects Executive

Every month, we introduce you to one of our team. This month, meet Bailey (aka Bee) Sage, Graduate Projects Executive.


1)   Tell us about the role you do for TLS   

I joined TLS in October 2021 as a Graduate Projects Executive. Since then, I’ve been a part of the Examination Team. There is quite a variety in the work we do when producing and conducting remote exams, but I spend a lot of my time assisting with the creation of exam materials and supporting the rest of my team in other areas.


2)   What's been your favourite project at TLS?

My favourite project has probably been expanding our exam question content bank. Although it’s something of a never-ending process, I’ve really loved working hard to try and improve the processes and quality of exams that we produce; plus it’s a great opportunity to think creatively!


3)   What has been your biggest challenge?

I think that one of my biggest challenges is also one of the things I enjoy most about my job: working from home. I love the flexibility, time, and money that I’m saved but not being forced to get up and out of the house can take its toll on my mental health sometimes.


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

This is something that really depends on the day! I did my degree in linguistics, so a career in speech therapy or forensic linguistics would take my fancy quite nicely. That being said, my dream job would probably be to create art in any way that I can, although I have a lot of skill development to do before I can get there.


5)   Tell us something interesting about you.

In the first COVID lockdown, I shaved my head completely in the spur of the moment. It was truly the most liberating feeling and made for a beautiful, hassle-free summer. I can also wiggle my ears independently (and one at a time!).


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

The first person that came to my head was Vincent van Gogh. He was such a tortured, talented soul from a time so different to ours; I would just love to hear his perspective on things. A dinner table of history’s most treasured artists would be an incredible, but I suppose I would probably need to bring an interpreter along with me.


7)   What are your ambitions for the rest of the year?

I will be moving house in July and I really want to take it as an opportunity to develop some strong, positive habits that will make me healthier and happier all round. I would also like to spend more time drawing and developing skills than napping and watching TV!


Mistranslations cost San Franciscans public transport improvements

A series of translation mistakes during a campaign to vote on a proposition for public transport improvements in San Francisco may have led to its failure.

Despite being a city world famous for its streetcars, San Francisco’s public transport infrastructure is in desperate need of investment. The recent proposition would have allocated an extra $400m to improvements and was backed by senior figures in local politics. However, it lost, with only 3,350 more votes needed to pass.

When the campaign was translated into Spanish for the city’s 130,000+ strong Hispanic population, it was riddled with mistakes that many now think could have contributed to its failure.

The errors ranged from an ambiguous translation of the amount to be invested, suggesting it could be $400,000 rather than $400m, to simply nonsensical: “The bond funds these priorities” in the original was translated to the nonsensical: “The tavern’s bail bond these priorities”.

As well as failing to get the facts over, the campaign left many in the Hispanic community feeling disrespected and disenfranchised. The proposition’s failure to pass is simply the latest story highlighting the need for sensitive and professionally handled translation.

Read more about this story here.

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 TLS.Training@languageshop.org

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 https://languageshop.org/contact/


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.

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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