May dates for your diary

Calendar snapshots

1st – Beltane, Celtic/Wiccan/Pagan

Beltane is an ancient Celtic festival, welcoming summer and letting the cattle out into the open pastures. Celebrants light bonfires and in rural Ireland, cattle were traditionally led between two fires in order to protect them from disease.

2nd – Eid al Fitr, Islamic

This Eid marks the end of the Muslim Holy Month of Ramadan. The day begins with communal prayer (salat), after which typically follows a lot of feasting and celebration.

6th – Vesak, Buddhist

This is the most important festival of the year for Theravada Buddhists, and honours the birth, enlightenment and death of the Buddha. It is marked with special services and good deeds, like the release of birds previously held captive.

May dates

1st Beltane (Wicca/Pagan, Northern and Southern hemispheres)
2nd Twelfth Day of Ridvan (Baha’i)
Eid al Fitr (Islam)
Birthday of Guru Arjan Dev (Sikh)
Bank Holiday – England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and ROI
3rd Feast of Saints Philip and James (Catholic Christian)
Akshaya Tritiya (Hindu, Jain)
World Press Freedom Day
4th Yom HaZikaron (Judaism)
International Firefighters Day
5th Yom Ha’Atzmaut (Judaism)
6th Vesak (Buddhist)
8th World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day
12th International Nurses Day
15th International Day of Families
17th International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia
19th Lag BaOmer (Judaism)
Global Accessibility Awareness Day
21st World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development
22nd International Day for Biological Diversity
23rd Birthday of Guru Amar Das (Sikh)
24th Declaration of the Báb (Baha’i)
26th Ascension Day – Christian
29th Ascension of Baha’u’llah (Baha’i)
Yom Yerushalayim (Judaism)
International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers
31st Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Catholic Christian)
World No Tobacco Day

Keep up to date with all our latest news here and on social media  – we are on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.


Meet The Team: Omead Hussain, Freelance Interpreter

Omead Hussain, Freelance Interpreter

Every month, we introduce you to one of our team. This month, meet Omead Hussain, one of our freelance interpreters working in English, Arabic and Kurdish.

Tell us about the role you do for TLS

My role is to bridge the communication gap between two or more parties who do not speak the same language. We must be impartial and I cannot favour the client or the other side.

What's been your favourite project at TLS?

The video project I did with Newham Council to improve communication with children and young adults in the social care system. The project produced videos that explain the various social care procedures for children in care, unaccompanied asylum seekers and the parents of children being reviewed by children’s social care services. The videos are in the languages most common in Newham (other than English); Kurdish and Arabic are two of these languages.

What has been your biggest challenge?

Inability to hear the speaker, cultural knowledge and interpreting jokes, humour and sarcasm.

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

I wanted to be a civilian pilot or a famous actor.

Tell us something interesting about you.

When I was in Kurdistan/Iraq, I was a head of department and lecturer at a university. I loved my job so much as I like administration and leadership, but unfortunately I did not find an opportunity here in Britain to be a university professor. I love to travel - for both business and leisure. I really enjoy reading and like change, whether in my field of work or my life. I am really interested in football and my favourite team is Liverpool. I like quiet music.

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

My Mum and Dad both passed away a long time ago, not a day goes by when I don’t think about something I would like to ask them or tell them. My country did not have good health services so I would've liked to take them to the best specialist doctor, but at the time I couldn't afford to take them abroad to treat them.

What are your ambitions for the rest of the year?

Travel the world, win the lottery, be financially secure, buy a house and apply for a PhD.

Say hello to Omead on The Language Shop’s social media – we are on FacebookTwitter and LinkedInKeep up to date with all our latest news here.


April dates for your diary

Calendar snapshots

14th – Vaisakhi, Sikh and Hindu

This date marks the solar new year for both Hindus and Sikhs. It is also important to Sikhs as it commemorates the founding of the religion in 1699 under the tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh.

15th – Good Friday, Christian

Good Friday marks the start of the Easter weekend. It marks the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ, the Christian messiah. It is observed with special church services.

18th – Easter Sunday, Christian

Following the crucifixion, Christians believe that Jesus rose again on Easter Sunday, ascending to heaven. This makes Easter one of the most important festivals of the year for Christians and it is marked with special church services, giving gifts and eating special food, especially chocolate.

April dates

3rd Ramadan begins (Islam)
14th Vaisakhi (Sikh, Hindu)
15th Good Friday
15th - 23rd Passover - begins sunset of Friday, ends nightfall of Saturday; no work permitted 15-16 and 22-23. Work permitted on 17-21 with certain restrictions. (Judaism)
17th Easter Sunday (Christian)
18th Easter Monday (Christian)
20th - 24th National Stalking Awareness Week
21st First day of Ridván (Bahá’í)
23rd St George's Day
25th - 1st Lesbian Visibility Week
29th Ninth Day of Ridván (Bahá’í)
29th Laylat al-Qadr (Islam)

Are you celebrating any festivals this month? Please get in touch and tell us all about it! Email nicole.kershaw@newham.gov.uk.

Keep up to date with all our latest news here and on social media  – we are on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.


Meet The Team: Stephanie Bright, Resource and Compliance Manager

Stephanie Bright, Compliance Manager at TLS, holding her chocolate cockapoo

Every month, we introduce you to one of our team. This month, meet Stephanie Bright, The Language Shop's Resource and Compliance Manager.

Tell us about what you do for TLS

I am responsible for all recruitment, engagement and associated compliance that has to be considered when recruiting into The Language Shop. Additionally, I am here to support internal teams, employees and our freelance interpreters who do amazing work, day in and day out.

What’s been your favourite project at TLS?

Because my role is so varied it's difficult to pinpoint one specific project. My projects can be recruiting freelance interpreters, enhancing internal teams, conducting feedback reviews or helping out in a team if they are short staffed. This is what I love: each day is different but completely people-focused, which is embedded within TLS.

What’s been the biggest challenge?

External influences can impact my role and responsibilities quite quickly so it is important to stay ahead as much as possible and to be aware of such factors all the time.

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

I always wanted to be a nurse. It would have to be a role where I could make a difference like I do in my current role with TLS.

Tell us something interesting about you

I am a mum to a 10 year old boy and in my spare time enjoy the outdoors.

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

My grandma, unfortunately she never met my son, so would love that and to also enjoy her Yorkshire puddings again. She made them like pancakes and they were the best!

What are your ambitions for 2022?

To continue being a valued asset and team member to TLS. As the business grows, I am constantly learning new skills and experiences.

Say hello to Stephanie on The Language Shop’s social media – we are on FacebookTwitter and LinkedInKeep up to date with all our latest news here.


March dates for your diary

Calendar snapshots

1st – Shrove Tuesday, Christian

Shrove Tuesday marks the last day before Christians’ 40 day fast for Lent. In the UK, we traditionally eat pancakes. In other countries, Mardi Gras (literally Fat Tuesday) is celebrated with street carnivals, music and excess.

14th – Nanakshahi, Sikh

The Nanakshahi calendar was only introduced in 2003, to fix most Sikh celebrations rather than have them change date each year. The calendar is named after Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism.

18th – Holi, Hindu

Holi is a lively Indian celebration that involves throwing coloured powder paint and water at each other. It is often celebrated on the full moon before the beginning of the Vernal Equinox, as per the Hindu calendar.

March calendar

1st Intercalary Days (end) - Baha'l
Saint David's Day - Christian
Shrove Tuesday - Christian
Maha Shivaratri - Hindu
International Wheelchair Day
Zero Discrimination Day
2nd Nineteen Day Fast begins - Baha'l
Ash Wednesday - Christian
3rd World Hearing Day
6th Cheesefare Sunday - Orthodox Christian
7th Great Lent begins/Clean Monday - Orthodox Christian
8th International Women's Day
13th Sunday of Orthodoxy - Orthodox Christian
14th Nanakshahl (New Year) - Sikh
15th Lord's Evening Meal - Jehovah's Witness
16th Purim - Judaism
17th Saint Patricks' Day - Christian
Holika Dahan - Hindu
Bank Holiday - Northern Ireland and ROI
18th Holi - Hindu
Lailat al Bara'ah - Islam
Global Recycling Day
19th Hola Mohalla - Sikh
20th Spring Equinox
Ostara/Mabon - Wicca/Pagan
International Day of Happiness
21st Naw-Ruz (New Year) - Baha'l
Norooz (New Year) - Persian/Zoroastrian
International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
World Down Syndrome Day
25th The Annunciation of the Virgin Mary - Christian
Annunciation to the Theotokos - Orthodox Christian
Internationnal Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade
26th Khordad Sal (Birth of Prophet Zarathushtra) - Zoroastrian
27th Mothering Sunday
British Summer Time begins
30th World Bipolar Day
31st International Transgender Day of Visibility

Are you celebrating any festivals this month? Please get in touch and tell us all about it! Email nicole.kershaw@newham.gov.uk.

Keep up to date with all our latest news here and on social media  – we are on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.


Meet The Team: Sumayyah Aleem, Punjabi and Urdu interpreter

Every month, we introduce you to one of The Language Shop team. This month, meet Sumayyah Aleem, one of our Punjabi and Urdu interpreters. Find out about her passion for helping people and how gardening helps her to relax.

Tell us about what you do for TLS

I have been providing face to face and virtual interpreting services for The Language Shop. My responsibilities include converting information from the source language into the target language, carefully communicating spoken messages with efficiency, clarity and sensitivity.

What’s been your favourite project at TLS?

I have worked on many projects so far, some of the projects I have been working on are still on going. It is difficult to choose one particular project, however I felt very satisfied and happy when a broken family was reunited. The young children were back together from the foster care.

What’s been the biggest challenge?

Home visits can sometimes be challenging, as patients can occasionally become aggressive towards the professionals; the challenge is to remain calm before leaving the premises.

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

I would wish to continue to work in a setting where I am providing help and supporting people, in an educational or medical setting.

Tell us something interesting about you

In my spare time, I grow my own flowers, plants and tea leaves. I find that the process of gardening is quite meditative for me and I believe that it helps me feel more centred during interpreting sessions.

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

I would have loved to have met either Mother Teresa or Princess Diana. Like many people, I felt a strange connection to them. They radiated warmth and humility, and both were such great humanitarians.

What are your ambitions for 2022?

My strong desire and aspiration is to learn another language this year, which should develop my communication skills and contribute to The Language Shop.

Say hello to Jacky on The Language Shop’s social media – we are on FacebookTwitter and LinkedInKeep up to date with all our latest news here.


No more exam halls: TLS remote examinations

The Ministry of Defence is just one customer using examination services developed by TLS, which we tailor to each organisation’s requirements.

Working across 70 languages, we remotely assess candidates at all levels of ability, from anywhere in the world with an internet connection. For the MoD, this has proven invaluable to their ‘boots on the ground’, who cannot easily fly home for exams.

Covid lockdown also meant that many educational institutions were unable to sit students together in exam halls. Our remote examination services have allowed the University of West London and the International School of Music to keep examining students throughout, too. Due to the success of these, the university has made the remote assessment a permanent fixture.

Find out more about our examination services.

Keep up to date with all our latest news here and on social media  – we are on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn

 

 


February dates for your diary

Calendar snapshots

1st February: Chinese New Year

This huge celebration is also known as Spring Festival and, as Chinese people return home to see family, creates one of the biggest movements of people worldwide. Celebrations include sweeping out the home, giving gifts of money in traditional red envelopes, putting up traditional paper decorations and eating special foods.

5th February: Vasant Panchami

This festival also welcomes spring and kicks off preparations for Holi, another Indian celebration. Hindus and Jains pray to Goddess Saraswati and many dress in yellow to symbolise the new beginnings of the season.

27th February: Meatfare Sunday

For Orthodox Christians, this date is the last opportunity to eat meat before Lent begins, and many will fast until Easter. Celebrations on this day tend to involve getting together with family and feasting on meat, in preparation for the forty days of privation ahead.

 

February calendar

1st Chinese New Year – Confucian, Daoist, Buddhist
Imbolc – Lughnassadh – Wicca/Pagan
World Hijab Day
World Interfaith Harmony Week begins
2nd Candlemas (Presentation of Christ in the Temple) – Christian
3rd Setsubun-sai – Shinto
4th World Cancer Day
5th Vasant Panchami – Hindu
6th Zacchaeus Sunday – Orthodox Christian
Time to Talk Day
7th UK Race Equality Week begins
8th Safer Internet Day
11th International Day of Women and Girls in Science
World Day of the Sick
12th Red Hand Day for Child Soldiers
13th Triodion begins – Orthodox Christian
Autism Sunday
14th Saint Valentine’s Day
15th Parinirvana Day/Nirvana Day – Buddhist
International Childhood Cancer Day
16th Magha Puja (Sangha Day) – Buddhist
17th World Human Spirit Day
20th Sunday of the Prodigal Son – Orthodox Christian
World Day of Social Justice
25th Intercalary Days begin – Baha’i
International stand up to Bullying Day
27th Meatfare Sunday – Orthodox Christian
28th Lailat al Miraj – Islam

Are you celebrating any festivals this month? Please get in touch and tell us all about it! Email nicole.kershaw@newham.gov.uk.

Keep up to date with all our latest news here and on social media  – we are on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.


Meet The Team: Jacky Ashton, Service Coordinator

Every month, we introduce you to one of The Language Shop team. This month, meet Jacky Ashton, the Service Coordinator for The Language Shop's on-demand team. Find out more about her official title and personal garden bar!

What’s been your favourite project at TLS? 

Being part of the on-demand team since June 2020 when it was a team of five. This has now grown to a team of nine.

What’s been the biggest challenge? 

Dealing with the old phone system - most days it was a challenge doing conference calls. It would often take a while to get all parties connected. Thankfully after a lot of hard work from TLS directors and other staff members, this has now been changed and calls run much more smoothly!

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

Work in a wedding dress shop or to be a wedding planner.

Tell us something interesting about you 

I have a title! It’s Lady Jacqueline Ashton. My husband purchased a title for us both a few years back. We own a very small plot of land in Scotland. It’s about the size of a carpet tile! The certificate that came with the title does say we can change our names on passports etc. to Lady/Lord and maybe get free upgrades on flights etc. We’ve not tried this out yet though. However it does not allow us entry to the House of Lords, nor is it transferrable to our children.

I also love the colour pink. When we moved to our house, my husband built me my own garden bar, which is called Jax Quarry Bar, as our address is on Quarry Road.

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

It has to be Princess Diana, just to tell her what an amazing human being she was and to ask for her thoughts on the current world situation.

What are your ambitions for the coming year?  

Work wise to carry on providing excellent customer service for TLS. Leisure wise to sign up for dance lessons with my husband.

Say hello to Jacky on The Language Shop’s social media – we are on FacebookTwitter and LinkedInKeep up to date with all our latest news here.


Customer survey results give TLS a glowing report

TLS customer survey report

It has been another year of rapid change and growth for TLS. We continue to meet the challenges of the global pandemic, building on our remote services and refining our processes so that we can provide you with a seamless, high-quality service, whatever the changing circumstances.

With our customer survey launched late last year, we were keen to find out how the changes we have been making are going down with you, our customers.

The headline news from the results is that our remote (telephone and video) interpreting services are increasingly popular, with 87% of customers having used them. What is more, they are even more well-received: 89% of respondents said that they found the booking process easy or very easy (up from 85% in 2020), and 88% reported that the language support they received was of high or very high quality (up from 80%). Nothing makes us happier than word of mouth recommendations, and these were up too: 98% would recommend our remote services to a colleague or friend, compared to 97% in 2020.

Overall, satisfaction with TLS support staff was very high too, with 97% reporting that the team was friendly and polite, and 96% saying the support they provided was excellent or good.

We are delighted with these results and look forward to building on the successes of last year.

If you would like to know more about the results of our customer survey or have any other feedback, please contact Nicole Kershaw by emailing nicole.kershaw@newham.gov.uk

Keep up to date with all our latest news here and on social media  – we are on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn