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.

TLS translations made even easier

Would you like a simple, user-friendly way for your patients or residents to request translated documents? TLS has introduced a QR code caption service that allows users to request a translated version of a document by scanning a QR code and filling out a quick, translated online form.

If you’d like more information on this service or would like to add a QR Code Caption to your document, please contact

Back to School with The Language Shop (tls)

As the new academic year gets underway, we wanted to remind schools of the language support services The Language Shop (tls) offers to help improve parent and pupil communications and ensure a smooth start to the new school term.

Ways tls can support your school

Language support for schools is essential: there are over 1.6million EAL students (English as an additional Language) in the UK, and many of their parents/guardians have limited spoken English. It is vital that these individuals receive quality interpreting and translation support throughout the year to ensure language is never a barrier to success and achievement.

We can assist in a range of ways, including:

  • Easy to use remote video or telephone interpreting in over 300 languages to support parents’ evenings and other meetings/events.
  • Translated templates for crucial documents including consent forms and safeguarding policies.
  • Face-to-face interpreters for key meetings such as disciplinary hearings and SEN assessments.
  • British Sign Language provision

Why choose tls for interpreting in your school?

  • All our interpreters working with children are enhanced DBS-certified and we deliver our own in-house Level 2 Safeguarding qualification.
  • Registering with us is quick and simple. The Language Shop only charges schools for the interpreting they use. Remote interpreting services are charged by the minute and there are no monthly or up-front subscription charges to pay.
  • Our interpreters are all UK-based and available for face-to-face or telephone bookings. For telephone, we offer on-demand calls where users are connected to an interpreter within 5 minutes. School customers can also select to work with the same interpreter time and time again to maintain continuity.
  • We are also one of the largest suppliers of language services in health and social care settings across London; our interpreters are highly experienced supporting children and their families in sensitive situations.

Contact us today to find out more about our language support services for schools.

Language industry: interpreter workshop on cancer

Metrosouth, a regional public health body in Australia, recently held specialist training for 60 interpreters working in cancer care. The session involved training the interpreters on cancer treatments, services and terminology, so that they could better understand and relay the specialist conversations between service users and medical staff. Some described it as ‘the best training we’ve ever had’.

At TLS, we have long since recognised the importance of matching interpreters’ specialist skills to the job at hand. When you book with us, we will always prioritise specialisms and continuity, so that we match you with the best available interpreter for the job.

Our qualifications platform TLS Learn provides the training and development to ensure that we have a steady supply of high quality interpreters ready to meet our customers’ needs.

Visit TLS Learn 

New technology PRISM makes remote interpreting even easier

As the demand for our remote video and telephone interpreting services continues to grow, TLS has developed PRISM, a device to make booking an interpreter even easier and quicker. PRISM allows you to book a remote interpreter immediately, using our specially designed device. You can choose between a scheduled an on-demand telephone or video interpreter; there will be someone available, no matter the time of day.

Find out more about PRISM and our remote interpreting services by talking to your account manager or calling 020 3373 4000.