Deaf News: New ‘fake interpreter’ storm over Hurricane Irma emergency newsflash

Posted on September 11, 2017

A sign language interpreter who appeared on a televised broadcast of the Hurricane Irma emergency newsflash in America has been branded ‘fake’ and ‘useless’, after many Deaf viewers struggled to understand his translation.

Watch him at work in the video below, with subtitles revealing what he is signing added by a YouTube user:

Hurricane Irma has been devastating the East Coast of America, causing flooding and storm damage on a large scale as it travels northwards.

News sites and channels are constantly releasing updates, emergency warnings and information, which are often accompanied by live American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation.

Unfortunately, in scenes that are similar to those at Nelson Mandela’s funeral back in 2013 , many Deaf viewers reported not being able to understand the interpreter, who appeared tentative and unsure as he signed.

He is said to have fingerspelled SHALTERS instead of signing ‘shelter’, called the hurricane ‘NMA’ and used seemingly random phrases such as “mix a pray” and “nice that offence monster”.

There have been suggestions (unconfirmed) that the man is not a qualified interpreter, but is instead someone working for the emergency services who has a deaf relative.

In better news, an interpreter signing on another Hurricane Irma report has received a positive response, as reported in the Daily Mail here, (although as this site’s editor Charlie Swinbourne wrote in 2015, interpreters going viral during natural disasters may not be going viral for the right reasons).

By Emily Howlett.

The Limping Chicken is the world's most popular Deaf blog, and is edited by Deaf journalist and filmmaker Charlie Swinbourne. 

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Posted in: deaf news