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Mandela Ceremony Has Fake Sign Language Interpreter

Posted 12/11/2013 9:45 am by
Pictured: President Obama and a fake sign language interpreter.

Pictured: President Obama and a fake sign language interpreter.

Fake sign language interpreters are no laughing matter, as the country of South Africa is finding out.  The Nelson Mandela memorial in Johannesburg was a massive event, with hundreds of thousands of people participating, from selfie-taking world leaders like Barack Obama to normal South Africans on the street.  However, with all those people, apparently they couldn’t dig up a qualified sign language interpreter.  The sign language interpreter at Nelson Mandela’s memorial was actually just signing gibberish.

According to Bruno Druchen, the director of the Deaf Federation of South Africa, the supposed interpreter “was moving his hands around but there was no meaning in what he used his hands for.”

Not only was he not signing in American Sign Language, he also wasn’t signing in South African Sign Language, which covers 11 different languages spoken in the area, according to actual sign language interpreters like Nicole Du Toit, who said, “It was horrible, an absolute circus, really, really bad.  Only he can understand those gestures.”

The government is preparing an official statement, but obviously that’s not ready quite yet, since the big reveal of the fake interpreter was just noticed.  Pretty spectacular screw-up, honestly; I understand that there aren’t a lot of deaf people that need interpreters since there’s closed captioning on every TV and cable box, but you couldn’t just find one person who was a qualified sign language interpreter?  Or, I guess, you couldn’t do a quick background check on the person hired to be the interpreter?  Yeesh.

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