Shame on this male so called interpreter on the stage. What is he signing? He knows that the deaf cannot vocally boo him off. Shame on him !
— wilma newhoudt (@newhoudt) December 10, 2013
Deaf South Africans are outraged that the man chosen to interpret President Obama’s speech at Mandela’s Memorial Service Tuesday was a fraud.
Three sign language interpreters say the man was not signing in any known language. They accused the man of “making up his own signs”.
What was supposed to be a dignified, solemn ceremony for a beloved world leader turned into a comedy of errors. From Obama taking selfies and flirting with the Danish PM to a fake sign language interpreter. Mr. Mandela deserved more respect than this.
Sign language experts say there are 11 official sign languages used in South Africa.
Sheena Walters, a representative for the World Association of Sign Language Interpreters, said the unidentified man’s hand movements were not recognisable as any type of sign language.
“Most sign languages across the world share a similar structure and pattern and this person seems to be making a lot of repetitive signs and isn’t displaying the usual facial expression or structure of sign language that you would normally see,” said Walters.
The man has been used at previous official events in South Africa. But questions were raised about his lack of sign language skills at those events.
South African sign language interpreter, Francois Deysel tweeted that the interpreter was “making a mockery of our profession.”
Deaf Americans took to Twitter.com to voice their anger over the fake interpreter. But others scoffed at their complaints.
@BrunoDruchen Bruno do you speak all 200 sign languages?
— Dan Virgillito (@danvirgillito) December 11, 2013
Shame on Obama’s Secret Service for not doing their due diligence. The man could have been an assassin.