Deaf News USA: Deaf people in Seattle protest about local sign language interpreter

Posted on January 3, 2014

In the wake of the ‘fake interpreter’ scandal at Nelson Mandela’s funeral, it seems that the Deaf community across the globe are still struggling with interpreters who are not being understood by the Deaf people using their services.

In Seattle, USA, protestors called for the Seattle Men’s Chorus to use a different interpreter for their concerts just before Christmas, saying they could not understand the resident translator, Kevin Gallagher, who has worked with the Chorus for over 30 years.

Matters got so serious that a group of protesters stood outside a recent production at Benaroya Hall, bearing signs calling for Gallagher’s replacement.

One of them, Katie Roberts, who is Deaf, said: “He wasn’t communicating with anyone who is deaf so I think there was some issues with his inappropriate use of language.”

Seattle Men’s Chorus Executive Director Frank Stilwagner said they support Gallagher, but admitted they could provide him with more training and look into improving the show for those in the Deaf community.

“If his services aren’t reaching everyone in the community then we need to take a look at that,” said Stilwagner. “Their concerns are being addressed and we will continue to address them.”

Gallagher responded to the criticism by saying: “The folks who have attended the concerts have told the chorus they have been understanding (them),”

Since the incident, lyrics to the songs have been transcribed onto a screen. The protestors believe this means things are moving in the right direction, but that the Chorus should still consider other interpreters.

“We have a right to have full access to the entertainment here. We want to be part of this,” said Roberts.

Read the original article here –

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