A Plague of Fake Interpreters

The Associated Press describes what may be the single strangest story to come out of the Mandela funeral:

Sign Language Interpretation The symbol indica...

A man who appeared to provide sign language interpretation on stage for Nelson Mandela‘s memorial service, attended by scores of heads of state, was a “fake,” the national director of the Deaf Federation of South Africa said on Wednesday….

Four sign language 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….Ingrid Parkin, principal of the St. Vincent School for the Deaf in Johannesburg, said she’s received complaints from the deaf community from Canada to China about the man on stage and that his movements look “like he’s signing gibberish.”

A strange story, but evidently not strange enough. File this under Social Problems That Never Occurred To Me Before:

Bogus sign language interpreters are a problem in South Africa, because people who know a few signs try to pass themselves off as interpreters, said Parkin, the principal of the school for the deaf. And those hiring them usually don’t sign, so they have no idea that the people they are hiring cannot do the job, she said.

Read more via A Plague of Fake Interpreters – Hit & Run : Reason.com.

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