Read: ‘Do you see what I’m saying’ in the Independent

Posted on November 27, 2012

Don’t miss this fantastic article in today’s Independent featuring sign language interpreter Rob Skinner and the issue of deaf access to the media.


When Michael Bloomberg appeared during Hurricane Sandy last month, his sign language interpreter unwittingly stole his thunder. Lydia Callis translated the New York City mayor’s announcements using every muscle she possessed. So expressive was she on a stage filled with stiff officials that CNN filmed a prime-time profile, Saturday Night Live sent her up in a sketch and websites around the world hummed with love for Lydia.

Translators should be invisible, but sign language interpreters must be seen to be heard. As Callis showed, this sometimes earns them an audience beyond the deaf community. It can be intentional. During the 2004 Presidential elections in Ukraine, Natalia Dmytruk tore up the script on state-run news to tell deaf viewers early results were “lies” and that “I am very ashamed to translate such lies to you”. Her silent rebellion emboldened the protests that led to the Orange Revolution.

Such breakthroughs are rare, however. In the meantime, a dedicated profession works behind the scenes and from the corner of our television screens. Increasingly, the minority they serve, who can’t hear but also struggle to be heard, say that government and media fail to give them access to society the rest of us take for granted.

To read the rest of the article, click here:

And don’t miss ‘We’re being left out of the big society, say the deaf’ also in today’s Independent:

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