November dates for your diary

Calendar snapshots

8th       Birthday of Guru Nanak Dev, Sikh

Guru Nanek Dev was the first Sikh guru and original founder of the religion. In India, in preparation for his birthday, there is akhand path, a 48 hour non-stop recitation of the Guru Granth Sahib in the gurdwaras. The day before the celebrations, there are processions and on the day of the festival itself, people gather for langar, a communal free lunch at the gurdwaras.

14th     World Diabetes Day

Since 1991, World Diabetes Day has been marked on 14 November, the birthday of Frederick Banting, the man who co-discovered insulin, the hormone that regulates blood sugar. The theme for this day for the years 2021-23 is access to diabetes care, and organisers call on governments to provide better education and equality of access.

18th     UK Disability History Month begins

Since 2010, during UK Disability History Month, we have celebrated the achievements of disabled people in this country. We also take the month to pay homage to the disability rights movements and activists who have fought for equity and equality for disabled people.

This month’s dates at a glance

1st      All Saints’ Day – Christian

2nd    All Souls’ Day – Christian, Coronation of Emperor Haile Selassie I – Rastafari

8th     Birthday of Guru Nanak Dev – Sikh, Intersex Day of Solidarity

9th     Dedication of the Lateran Basilica – Catholic Christian,

11th    Armistice Day

13th    Remembrance Sunday, World Kindness Day, UK Interfaith Week begins

14th    World Diabetes Day  

15th    Nativity Fast begins – Orthodox Christian

16th    International Day for Tolerance

17th    International Students’ Day

18th    International STAND UP to Bullying Day, UK Disability History Month begins

19th    International Men’s Day

20th    Feast of Christ the King – Christian, Transgender Day of Remembrance, Universal Children’s Day

21st    Presentation of the Theotokos – Orthodox Christian

24th    Martyrdom of Guru Tegh Bahadur – Sikh  

25th    International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

26th    Day of the Covenant – Baha’i

27th    Advent Sunday – Christian

28th    Ascension of Abdu’l-Bahá – Baha’i

30th    Saint Andrew’s Day – Christian, Bank Holiday – Scotland.

Rare language fact file: Hertevin

Native to: Siirt Province, Turkey

Number of native speakers: 4

Spoken by: Chaldean Catholics from the region

Learn some: With only 4 native speakers left, it is unlikely that you will need to use it, but to greet someone on Hertevin is ‘shlama’!

Interesting facts:

  • Although Hertevin is ancient, with records going back to the 6th century BC, it was not formally recognised until the 20th It is part of a group of languages that are known as Neo-Aramaic.
  • The language is named after a village in far southeastern Turkey. In the 1970s, Hertevin village had a population of 500, with many speaking the language, however by 1990 just one Hertevin-speaking family remained. Unlike most endangered languages, which face pressure from globalisation, the Hertevin speakers were forced to flee due to targeted violence during the Armenian Genocide.
  • The scattering of people from this region has contributed to the dwindling number of speakers of Hervetin. However, many Chaldean Catholics settled in Paris, where they were joined by Iraqi Christians during the Gulf Wars. There is a cathedral in the 18th arrondissement of Paris where the mass is read in Chaldean languages, as well as French.

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.


Remembrance Sunday, 13th November

What: On the Sunday that falls nearest to 11th November (Armistice Day, marking the end of WW1), we remember British and Commonwealth soldiers who died in the World Wars and later conflicts.

Why: The day is an opportunity to remember our dead. For some, Remembrance Day is a time to focus on the tragedies of war, which we should strive to avoid. For others, it is a time for paying respect to the military.

How: The first anniversary of the end of WW1 was marked by King George V with a banquet, which a lot of people felt did not give the event the seriousness it deserved. The following year, the first event at the Cenotaph was held, which gave people the opportunity to gather and remember their dead. From 1921, the Royal British Legion started to sell the now synonymous red poppies to raise money for war veterans. These latter two traditions continue today, along with the two minute silence at 11am.

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

Meet The Team: Shaun Hunsley, BSL Interpreter

Every month, we introduce you to one of our team. This month, meet Shaun Hunsley, one of our freelance British Sign Language (BSL) interpreters.

Tell us about the role you do for TLS

I have worked as a freelance British Sign Language Interpreter for TLS for around 20 years. I cover a wide variety of assignments ranging from Health settings including Mental Health, Social Services and Events.

What's been your favourite project at TLS?

TLS used to be the provider of Interpreters for Pride in London. I used to be one of their Interpreters for the Main Stage. I don’t think it’s possible to have more fun in one day, so great memories.

What has been your biggest challenge?

I was attacked and left unconscious in the street with a broken nose, cheek bone and eye socket and fractured my jaw. I had an operation putting a metal plate permanently in my face and coming to terms with this, being a non-violent person, was a huge struggle.

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

If I was not an interpreter, I am sure I would have tried my hand at Interior Design. It has been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember. I struggle to walk past a furniture store without going in and coming out with yet another thing for the flat, as my poor husband will attest to.

Tell us something interesting about you.

I was booked to interpret for a party that the late Queen of England was throwing in Buckingham Palace. It was an incredible evening. Then sadly I was part of the interpreting team booked for her funeral, it was an honour and a privilege to do both.

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

I would love to meet Meryl Streep; she is an incredible actress and so unbelievably versatile in the roles she takes, so  it would be great to talk about her career.

What are your ambitions for the next 12 months?

To have as much fun as possible. Life is too short!

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

Striking European Parliament interpreters back at work – for now

Striking interpreters at the European Parliament have reached a temporary compromise with their employers, and are back at work for the time being.

In August, we brought you news of the remote interpreters on strike in the European Parliament. The interpreters were protesting the lifting of health and safety measures on remote interpreting, such as time limits to protect against hearing damage.

They have agreed to once again interpret remotely, but only if the parliament adheres to health and safety guidelines.

The episode has highlighted the need for the industry to adapt to new ways of working following the pandemic.

At TLS, our interpreters’ health and safety is a priority. If you have any questions about this, please contact your account manager.

October dates for your diary

Calendar snapshots

4th       Blessing of the Animals - Christian

On the Feast of St Francis of Assisi, the saint known for his love of animals, many Christians mark the day by saying prayers over animals. These could be pets, working animals or animals going to slaughter. Often, animals are brought to a place of worship to be directly blessed on this day.

5th     Dusshera - Hindu

On this day, Hindus celebrate Lord Rama’s defeat of Ravana, the ten-headed king of the demons who abducted Rama’s wife Sita. It is also said that Goddess Durga defeated the buffalo demon Mahishasura on this day. Celebrations involve effigies of the defeated, which are burned in the streets with fireworks, the fire representing the triumph of light over darkness.

10th     World Mental Health Day

The World Federation for Mental Health sets the theme for this annual awareness-raising day. The theme for 2022 is 'Make mental health and wellbeing for all a global priority' and calls on those in charge to prioritise mental health care. It also provides an opportunity for everyone to talk about mental health with friends, colleagues and loved ones.


This month’s dates at a glance

1st      International Day of Older Persons

2nd    Feast of the Guardian Angels – Christian

International Day of Non-Violence  

4th     Blessing of the Animals – Christian

Saint Francis’ Day – Christian

5th     Yom Kippur – Judaism

Dussehra – Dasara – Hindu

6th     World Cerebral Palsy Day

8th     Mawlid al-Nabi – Islam

9th     Birthday of Guru Ram Das – Sikh

           Sukkot begins – Judaism

10th    World Homeless Day

World Mental Health Day

11th    International Day of the Girl Child

13th    World Sight Day

15th    International Day of Rural Women

16th    World Food Day

17th    Shemini Atzeret – Judaism

           International Day for the Eradication of


18th    Feast of Saint Luke – Christian

Simchat Torah – Judaism

World Menopause Day

19th    International Pronouns Day

24th    Diwali – Deepavali – Hindu, Sikh, Jain,

Bandi Chhor Divas – Sikh

United Nations Day

26th    Birth of the Báb – Baha’i

Intersex Awareness Day

27th    Birth of Baha’u’llah – Baha’i

28th    Feast of Saints Simon and Jude – Christian

29th    World Stroke Day

30th    British Summer Time ends

31st    All Hallows’ Eve – Christian

Reformation Day – Protestant Christian

Samhain (Halloween) – Beltane – Wicca/Pagan Northern and Southern hemispheres


Rare language fact file: Shelta

Native to: Ireland and the UK

Number of native speakers: approximately 90k (last count in 1992)

Spoken by: the Irish travelling community

Learn some: Greet a Shelta speaker with ‘slum hawrum’ in the morning and ‘slum dorahog’ in the afternoon or evening.

Interesting facts:

  • Shelta is the formal name of this language, which is widely called The Cant or Tarri by its speakers, or De Gammon in Ireland.
  • The origins of the language are Irish Gaelic, but as its speakers are travellers, or ‘wanderers’, it is rich in influence from Scottish and English. Due to the longstanding persecution of the travelling communities, Shelta has been used as a ‘cryptolect’, which is a language designed to prevent understanding by outsiders. However, this was not its primary purpose.
  • Despite its endangered status, Shelta continues to evolve. In the US, where there is a diasporic travelling community, the ‘englishening’ (a Shelta expression to describe the encroaching influence of English on the language) has had a much bigger impact on Shelta than it has on this side of the Atlantic.

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: Sukkot, 9th – 16th October

What: Sukkot is a week of celebration, with different observations on different days, eg on the first two days, Jews are forbidden to work. This is known as yom tov.

Why: Sukkot, as with many festivals at this time of year, gives thanks for the harvest, as well as praising god for protecting the Jews after they left Egypt. It is the only Jewish festival that does not commemorate a historical event.

How: It is traditional to build a sukkah, a kind of outdoor shelter covered in foliage. The sukkah symbolises the shelter given to the Jews in the desert, either in the form of clouds, shielding them from the hot sun, or the tents they lived in. Families spend as much time as possible in the sukkah over the week, eating all meals in it and sometimes sleeping in it too.

On each day of Sukkot, except for the sabbath, people take the Four Kinds (a citron, a palm frond, three myrtle twigs and two willow twigs) and wave them up, down, backwards, forwards, right and left. These represent the various personalities making up the community of Israel.

The last day of Sukkot (or two days in the diasporic communities) is given over to pure enjoyment and celebration.

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


Meet the Team: Mandy Lloyd, TLS Bookings

Every month, we introduce you to one of our team. This month, meet Mandy Lloyd, one of our bookings team.

Tell us about the role you do for TLS

My role for TLS is to answer incoming calls from professionals who need interpreters to carry out their appointments. I take all the callers’ details and have a phone around to find an interpreter for any given language. Once the interpreter is connected to the professional I will dial in the service user if required and then when I’m confident everyone is in the call I hang up and get ready for the next call.

What's been your favourite project at TLS?

My favourite project without doubt was the switching over to our new phone system - such a user friendly and easy platform to navigate.

What has been your biggest challenge?

My biggest challenge was handling calls with our previous call system, it was very manual and not as user friendly as what we have now.

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

If I didn’t do this job and I had my time again I would definitely go into forensic science and criminology, both of which fascinate me.

Tell us something interesting about you.

Some interesting things about me:

  • I ate cucumber sandwiches and drank iced coffee at one of the Queen’s garden parties at Buckingham Palace. Given that our wonderful Queen has just died, I see this as even more of a privilege than it was at the time.
  • I swam in the Weeki Wachee River in Florida with a family of manatee, quite by chance as we were snorkelling! A 6 week old baby manatee swam over to us for a chin scratch, just like a puppy would. This was one of those WOW moments in my life!
  • I went to Ascot Ladies Day in a 4 in hand horse drawn carriage, we stopped on the long walk in the grounds of Windsor Castle to drink champagne and take in the moment before joining guests in the Royal Enclosure.
  • I was rescued by the RNLI and brought back to shore in a lifeboat after the engine on our power boat failed. Not one of my finer moments but exciting to say the least and since that day I’m an avid supporter of the RNLI. Getting back to shore was a little embarrassing as quite a crowd had gathered to watch… thank you RNLI!

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

Without doubt it would be Sir David Attenborough. He has become one of the country’s national treasures for the work he has done for wildlife conservation and the planet and I would love to hear some of his stories.

What are your ambitions for the next 12 months?

In the next 12 months I would like to turn a strip of land my son has given me into an allotment. Now is the time to start digging and preparing for next year and I hope to grow enough food and flowers for the family. I’ve grown plenty in the garden this year but I’m looking forward to doing this on a much bigger scale.

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


Interpreter blunder surprises Arabic-speaking world

The passing of HM The Queen in September was international news; the UK’s longest reigning monarch had made a huge impact on the world stage in her almost 71 years as head of state.

However, the pressure of reporting apparently got to one of the Arabic interpreters working for Dubai’s Al Arabiya news channel. Viewers were shocked by the linguist’s blunder, rendering “it is my most sorrowful duty to announce to you the death of my beloved mother, the Queen” with an Arabic translation that literally meant “I am very happy…”.

Most in the Arabic speaking world greeted the mistake as a bit of light relief from the sombre proceedings and one that was easily understood as a mistake, even to those without English. However some, including Egyptian news provider Sada Elbalad, made much of the slip-up, calling it a “terrible mistake”.

The episode highlights the difficulties of simultaneous interpreting and the quick judgement linguists face if they make a mistake. Using appropriately skilled interpreters and investing in their development is the best way to minimise the risk of mistakes.

Read about how TLS invests in interpreters’ skills and development here.