the linguist’s story

Every month, we get to know a bit more about one of our linguists. This month, meet Diana Flores Uta, an interpreter working in Romanian. Diana is experienced in interpreting in social work settings.

Tell us about the work you do for TLS.

I’m a Romanian interpreter working in medical and mental health bookings, and increasingly social work, housing and benefits. I also have a lot of telephone interpreting bookings from prisons, usually people who have come over without documents and are being held before deportation or a court case. Often I will be working with a charity to support these people, as they have absolutely nothing. 

What’s been your favourite project at TLS?

I can’t name one! I have worked as an interpreter for a long time and TLS has the most amazing team. Everyone is so helpful. People always respond to me immediately if I have questions; I feel really respected. 

What has been your biggest challenge?

Working with children and families who are struggling to buy food and feed themselves. I am currently trying to start a family of my own, so it’s especially hard to see. 

Can you tell us about a time your work has made a difference to someone’s life?

Not long ago I had a case with a mother and her daughter, who had muscular dystrophy. The mother had no income and no possibility of working, as she was a full-time carer. She was trying to apply for Universal Credit, which wasn’t the right benefit for her. The social worker couldn’t explain to her how to apply for different benefits. It was a very difficult situation.

I was able to communicate that she should apply for Carers Allowance. They called me again for an interpreting booking and I was so happy to hear that the mother got the benefit she needed and could look after her daughter without having to work. 

Tell us something interesting about you

I like to create beautiful things from things that have been thrown away. For example, a neighbour had put out a wardrobe with the rubbish. I took it in and painted and decorated it. When it was finished, I took it back to them and asked if they wanted it back and they did – they said they had no idea it could be such a beautiful thing! They gave me some flowers as thanks.

What are your ambitions for the next 12 months?

I have started a Diploma in Public Service Interpreting and I love it. It’s encouraged me to aim higher and I want to work in the courts. I’m always trying to improve my skills and take all the courses that I can. I speak some Spanish and would also like to work on that.