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


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.