The popular BBC Radio 2 current affairs discussion programme, presented by Jeremy Vine, discussed the South African interpreter controversy and our Deputy Editor, Andy Palmer, was on the show to talk about the story and Limping Chicken’s role in it.
Here’s a transcript of the discussion between Jeremy Vine and Andy. You can listen to the segment here from about 1 hour 29 mins.
Now there’s a website for deaf people in the UK called LimpingChicken.com and the deputy editor there is Andy Palmer who joins us now, good afternoon.
Good afternoon, Jeremy.
I happened to tweet something on you yesterday because I’d saw what you’d done and I gather that you were the guys who first spotted that this guy was not signing anything you recognised.
I think it would be fairer to say that we were the first sort of news website to make a story out of it because we’d been picking up on twitter that people who had been watching the ceremony had been complaining about the signer. We did some investigation and felt comfortable enough to do the story which was the first one out there that got picked-up world-wide.
Are you deaf yourself
Are you deaf yourself
No I’m not, no. I’m from a deaf family, I’ve got a deaf mum and dad and deaf uncles and aunties who all use sign language, my first language was sign language and my son’s deaf so I’m in the community, I’ll put it that way.
So you know all about sign language and you use it yourself?
Yes, absolutely. The interest that this story generated was so massive it crashed our website for the whole day yesterday. The video of the signer himself had reached half-a-million hits in the first 24-hours. Its been a global phenomenon.
Do you feel sorry for him?
Um, I think you can’t help but feel a bit of sympathy for the guy actually now because maybe he was doing it with the best intention and got put in a situation that was way beyond anything he’d ever been in before. I wouldn’t like to be in his shoes right now but I have seen other videos of the guy interpret at previous events and I can’t really see too much difference between those events and what happened at Nelson Mandela’s memorial.
But I do want to say something. I know we can look at South Africa and point to them and say they didn’t do very well for deaf people over there but we have to realise that in this country, and this is one of the biggest things on our website, is that sign language interpretation is not available for deaf people in this country.
We have got examples of deaf people who have been in hospital and don’t know what operation they’re going for or children having to interpret to their parents that they’re going to die of terminal cancer. So yes, its ok to point at South Africa and point at their failings but here in the UK we still have so much to do to make sure that deaf people get the access they need.
Thank you, Andy, very much.
Also on the same show was Tanvir Ahmed and Paul Breckell from Action on Hearing Loss. Tanvir, who is a sign language user, used an interpreter during the interview when talking about the dynamics of sign language. Mr Breckell, the Chief Executive of Action on Hearing Loss, explained why professionally qualified sign language interpreters were so important. Check out the transcript of that part of the interview here
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