Meet The Team: Maria Cristina Ligas, TLS Interpreter

Every month, we introduce you to one of our team. This month, meet Spanish and Italian interpreter, Maria Cristina Ligas.

Tell us about the role you do for TLS

I have been working as a public service interpreter since 1997; full time since 2013, providing services both in person and over the phone. The majority of jobs I undertake for TLS are in healthcare settings, such as hospitals, surgeries, clinics. This said, I am regularly sent to schools to translate during open days, parents evenings and any kind of meetings where parents, teachers or pupils need my linguistic support (I have a PGCE in mfl KS3/4 and QTS). Being self-employed I also interpret in courts, detention camps, prisons, courts and solicitors offices.

What’s been your favourite project at TLS?

I love my job: the variety of situations we are exposed to makes it perfect for someone like me who needs changes, physical movement and constant intellectual stimulation. Therefore I would not be able to single out a specific project.  When working withing healthcare settings, the birth-related ones are incredibly recharging. A breath of fresh air. In the last 26 years working in the public sector I translated half a dozen times in the labour ward and three times over the phone, while mothers were quickly giving birth at home or in a car. Once, due to labour complications, a two-hour booking turned into a night spent translating. I had then the chance to witness how compassionate and selfless midwives are. To witness the birth of a baby while not being involved emotionally (I am a mother) is an amazing experience. Second to none.

What has been your biggest challenge?

The biggest challenge proved to be the day I needed, together with two policemen, to break the news of the death of a young man to his parents. No words can express how terribly sad it was.

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

As stated earlier, I love my job and can’t think about another one. If forced to choose, I would go for a job that involves a lot of travelling and the use of several languages, such as travel representative or flight attendant (the latter was my first job, age of 23…nearly a life ago!) After a life spent happily translating, interpreting, tutoring and teaching languages I cannot see myself doing anything else but what I do.

Tell us something interesting about you

I am a marathon runner. I personally think that to run is, if not interesting to everybody, certainly something that makes people happier and healthier.
Nothing compares to the experience of running the London Marathon. I started running again after 20 years break, in 2017 in my mid-fifties.

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

If I could meet someone I would choose Marie Curie, the Polish Nobel Prize winner who discovered radio and saved countless lives from cancer. My motto in life is “never give up”. She was the living symbol of my motto. As a female scientist in a world dominated by men, she kept going even after losing her husband Pierre, with whom she shared a Nobel Prize. She then earned a second Nobel Prize while bringing up two incredibly successful daughters.

What are your ambitions for the next 12 months?

Many, but three are at the top of the list:

A 150k walk in February to fundraise for Great Ormond Hospital.
A trip to Mauritius for a well-deserved break.
To join the rowing club in Springfield Park.
And obviously all this while working for TLS.

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