Welcome to the May issue of The Monthly View.
 
Following your feedback, we are introducing practical advice on how to get the best from your bookings with TLS. This month we focus in on face to face interpreting (a live conversation in person between an interpreter, service user and customer). We hope you find this useful!

This year, Muslims will celebrate Ramadan in May, so we bring you all you need to know about one of Islam’s most important observances. If you and your family are fasting for Ramadan, we would love to hear all about it: what you eat and drink to break the fast, or how you plan to celebrate Eid al-Fitr at the end of the lunar month.

We also look at Lag B’Omer; a minor Jewish festival with some lively celebrations.

Mental Health Awareness Week also falls in May. With mental health related stories regularly in the headlines, we focus on this week and its topic for 2019: body image. 

Finally, 2019 is the UN’s Year of Indigenous Languages. We take a closer look at Kiowa, a North American indigenous language.


If you would like to share news on upcoming religious or cultural celebrations or health campaigns with us, please get in touch with Amy Soutter at amy.soutter@newham.gov.uk or 020 3373 8771. We also welcome any feedback on this newsletter.
Get best value from your booking: how to prepare for face to face interpreting
We understand that an interpreted conversation can feel unnatural, especially when you are new to the method. It is easy to lose valuable minutes if you are unprepared. However, with a few tips, you can minimise bother and maximise value for money. The Language Shop has more than 30 years’ experience of providing language support; here are our best practice tips to save you money and time:
 
·  Beforehand, try to take some time to quickly brief the interpreter on any relevant background and share your expectations for the booking

·  Let the interpreter know if you will be using any specific terminology during the appointment 

·  During the appointment, make sure everybody can see each other and remember to direct all conversation to the service user. Ensure you speak in first person and in small, manageable chunks to ensure the interpreter is able to recall everything said

·  After the appointment, spend a small amount of time with the interpreter and ask for any further comments on how they thought the meeting went.
3 May: Ramadan
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, and observant Muslims fast for its entirety, as an act of religious devotion and self-restraint. This means that they may not eat or drink between sunrise to sunset for roughly a month, until the crescent moon is sighted (or 30 days of fasting have passed, if the weather prevents a moon sighting). Children, the elderly, menstruating, breastfeeding or pregnant women or those who are severely ill or travelling during the month are exempt, but those who can must fast later.

In addition to abstaining from food and drink, Muslims do not engage in anything that may be considered sinful. While charity is always very important in Islam, during Ramadan it gains even more significance. These requirements are intended to enhance followers’ increased prayer and worship over the period.

Those observing Ramadan wake before sunrise for a meal called the suhur, followed by prayer. After sunset, families congregate for the iftar, a meal that breaks the day’s fast. Usually, dates are eaten first, as this was how the Prophet is said to have broken his fast. The iftar is often a meal with several courses.

Muslim’s engage in a long prayer during the final part of the night throughout Ramadan and there are readings from the Quran in every Mosque, so that by the end of the month the entire holy book will have been read.

The month ends with Eid al-Fitr, a very lively celebration that marks the end of the austere observances of Ramadan.
DID YOU KNOW?

The word ‘ramadan’ comes from the Arabic ‘ramida’ or ‘ar-ramad’, meaning aridity or scorching heat.

The Language Shop provides support in Arabic. Please ask your account manager for more details. 

There is so much more to learn about Ramadan. Read all about it here. 


GET IN TOUCH

We would love to share photos of your family’s Ramadan observances or your Eid celebrations in a future issue. Please get in touch by emailing amy.soutter@newham.gov.uk 
13-19 May: Mental Health Awareness Week
In the UK, Mental Health Awareness Week was launched in 2001 by the Mental Health Foundation. Each year it focuses on a different facet of mental health, which have included stress, relationships, loneliness, altruism, sleep, alcohol and friendship. This year’s focus is body image.
 
Body image describes how we feel about our physical selves. There is a range of mental health issues that fall under this umbrella, including eating disorders, gender dysphoria (the distress that comes from feeling that one’s gender is the opposite of one’s sex assignation) and body dysmorphia (a hyper focus on physical flaws, which are often imagined or given excessive significance in the mind of the sufferer).
 
During Mental Health Awareness Week, the foundation will publish new research on body image, campaign for change, run events and offer free practical resources. Everyone is encouraged to talk more about mental health, with this year’s fundraising initiative being Curry and Chaat – a chance to get together for delicious food and raise some money for the Mental Health Foundation at the same time.
 
Read more, find out if events are taking place near you and download free resources here. 
24 May:  Lag B’Omer
In Ashkenazi Judaism, the Omer is the verbal counting of the 49 days between the two festivals of Passover and Shavuot, when the Torah is said to have been handed down by God. Lag B’Omer translates as the 33rd day in the Omer. It marks the revelation of the Zohar, a seminal text for Jewish mystics, as well as the anniversary of the end of an ancient plague that killed 24,000 Jews.

The Omer is a semi-mourning period for Jews, when weddings, parties and haircuts are forbidden, but on Lag B’Omer, any restrictions are lifted and the celebrations are lively. The most common way to celebrate is with a bonfire – these are held all over the world where there are Jewish communities and symbolise the light of spiritual revelation.
 
As well as building fires, followers also go for family picnics, sing songs and, for many, give their children their first haircut.
 
Find out more about Lag B’Omer here. 


The Language Shop offers support in Hebrew. Ask your account manager for more details. 
Rare language fact file: Kiowa
There are increasing warnings that ‘super languages’, such as English, Spanish and Mandarin, are leading to the decline of much less widely spoken ones. Many of these rarer languages have also been the subject of concerted efforts to eradicate them.
 
This is the UN Year of Indigenous Languages and we look at Kiowa, a very rare first nations American language. 

Native to: Oklahoma, USA 

Number of native speakers: approximately 10 

Spoken by: the Kiowa people 

Learn some Kiowa: ‘hah-choh’ is a friendly greeting, similar to hello

Interesting facts: 

•    Kiowa are original people of Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas but were confined to Oklahoma in the 19th century by white settlers.

•    Kiowa is a tonal language, which means that a change in pitch or tone can drastically alter meaning. For example, ‘thank you’ pronounced the wrong way can sound just like ‘kill him’!
 
•    The Kiowa language is oral and has no alphabet. However, as its few remaining native speakers are now elderly, several scholars are now working on transcribing the language in order to preserve it. Find out more about one such project here.
 
•    Kiowa language and culture has received a recent boost after a documentary about Pulitzer Prize winning Kiowa writer, N Scott Momaday, called Words from a Bear, premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.
This Month's dates at a glance
All month: Stress Awareness Month; Bowel Cancer Awareness Month