The Linguists’ Story (tls): Osama Hassan, Arabic interpreter

At The Language Shop (tls), we are proud of the fact that the work we do for public sector organisations and charities has a significant impact on the lives of vulnerable people who otherwise would not be able to access vital health, education and justice services.

In our regular feature, ‘The Linguists’ Story’, we get to know tls interpreters and translators and find out how they’ve helped those in need. This month (September 2023) we meet Osama Hassan, an Arabic interpreter:

Tell us about the work you do for TLS.

I interpret between Arabic and English, which is more complicated than it sounds as there are a lot of Arabic dialects! My mother tongue is the Sudanese variety, but I can use other varieties also. Dialects can even vary within a country, so I always remind new customers about the varieties of Arabic.

What’s been your favourite project at TLS?

No one project but I really enjoy working in mental health, and most of my work is in this area now. It is something that fascinates me, and I can draw on my past experiences working for a charity.

What has been your biggest challenge?

At first it was time management, but that has got much easier as I have got more experienced. I would say now it is dealing with service users’ trauma. A lot of people have come from war zones and lived through terrible things. I am from Sudan and I understand what they have gone through. Some service users can be emotional and behave in challenging ways.

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

When I started working as an interpreter, I thought it would be a temporary job but as time has gone on, I have got comfortable with it. If I wasn’t doing this, I would like to go back to working with unemployed people, helping them into work.

Tell us something interesting about you.

I used to play football and now I love watching it – even though my team, Arsenal, was robbed of a goal at the weekend! I read a lot too – I’m really interested in science.

What are your ambitions for the next 12 months?

I just want to keep doing what I’m doing – working hard.


If you are a tls linguist and would like to be profiled, or know someone else who would, please get in touch by emailing