[lg policy] Sign language interpreter at Mandela ceremony called a 'fake'

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Thu Dec 12 18:39:25 UTC 2013

 Sign language interpreter at Mandela ceremony called a 'fake'

 [image: Sign language interpreter at Mandela ceremony called a
ABC News

  [image: Sign language interpreter at Mandela ceremony called a
Zoom in
 December 11, 2013

On Tuesday, the Associated
the man who was supposed to be interpreting the speeches at the
service <http://www.examiner.com/topic/memorial-service> for Nelson
Mandela<http://www.examiner.com/topic/nelson-mandela>for the
hearing-impaired was a
fake <http://www.examiner.com/topic/fake>, moving his hands and arms, but
saying nothing.

"It was horrible, an absolute circus, really bad," said Nicole Du Toit, an
official sign language <http://www.examiner.com/topic/sign-language>
interpreter <http://www.examiner.com/topic/interpreter> who watched the
broadcast. "Only he can understand those gestures."

Bruno Druchen, national director of the Deaf Federation of South Africa,
told the AP the man "was moving his hands around but there was no meaning
in what he used his hands for."

Four experts, including Druchen, said the man was not signing in South
African or American sign languages and could not have been signing in any
other known sign language because there was no structure to his arm and
hand movements, the AP added. South African parliament member Wilma
Newhoudt, a member of the ruling party who is deaf, echoed those concerns.

According to the federation, South African sign language covers the 11
official languages spoken in the country.

It's not the first time the unidentified man was used to provide
interpretation services for the hearing-impaired, the AP said.

Last year, he was videotaped interpreting a speech attended by South
African President Jacob Zuma, Druchen said. After that performance, a
formal complaint was filed with the ANC.

The federation suggested he take the five-year training required to become
a qualified interpreter, but the ANC never responded.

A fresh complaint will be filed with the ANC, Druchen said.

"We want to make a statement that this is a warning to other sign language
interpreters who are fake and go about interpreting," Druchen told the AP.
"I am hoping the South African government will take notice of this."

Part of the problem is that people who know very few signs get hired by
people who don't know sign language, said Ingrid Parkin, principal of the
St. Vincent School for the Deaf in Johannesburg, who said she received
complaints from around the globe.

"They advertise themselves as interpreters because they know 10 signs and
they can make some quick money," Parkin said. "It is plain and simple abuse
of the deaf community, they are taking advantage of the deaf community to
make money."

the AP interviewed Druchen, who also is deaf, and Newhoudt by
telephone using an interpreter.


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