Sign-Language Interpreter at Mandela’s Memorial Used ‘Made-Up Signs’

Interpreter reportedly did his own thing during President Obama’s eulogy instead of accurately translating

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Deaf South Africans have lashed out at what they claim was a fake interpreter who was allegedly making up signs during President Barack Obama’s eulogy at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service in Johannesburg on Monday.

According to an article published in the Age, Braam Jordaan, a South African member of the World Federation of the Deaf Youth Section, called the interpretation “humiliating” and stated that the individual on stage during the U.S. President’s speech had “made up his own signs.”

“What happened at the memorial service [was a] truly disgraceful thing to see — it should not happen at all,” said Jordaan.

Suggestions that there may have been a problem with the auto-cue, or that the variety of sign language employed was a little-known but legitimate one, did not cut much ice with deaf viewers on social media.

The interpreter responsible has reportedly worked at previous African National Congress events, during which questions had also been raised about his proficiency, according to the Age.

28 comments
THEBRUISER
THEBRUISER

THE GIFT THAT KEEPS ON GIVING LMAO!!!!!

THEBRUISER
THEBRUISER

the gift that keeps on giving LMAO!!!!

ThomasBleser
ThomasBleser

Those of us who resonate to the cosmic dialectics of positive/negative, thesis/antithesis, yang/yin, and-so-on/and-so-forth gnow that what the sign language interpreter (SLI) said isn’t gibberish at all.  He said the same thing Nixon’s SLI said before Nixon  denied us the pleasure of seeing him impeached:  “We are not crooks and we always tell the truth…” Then all of these nice world leaders joined hands to sing "Koom Buy Yahh." over the dead bodies of one of their colleagues and his (the ANC's) thousands of necklacing victims.

ratinaflat
ratinaflat

Who appointed him? What a fowl up

Beersheva
Beersheva

How do you sign "boy, this guy has really big brass ones"?

MichaelBaeza
MichaelBaeza

I liked it better when the guy for the hearing impaired just cupped his hands over his mouth and yelled really loud.

bullit380
bullit380

This is going to be a Saturday Night Live skit.........no doubt.


valentine.godoflove
valentine.godoflove

IN CAPS FOR THE ELDERLY......DEFEND THE WEAK....KNIGHTS OF THE HOLY TEMPLE OF SOLOMON....


WE ARE ALL MONKEYS.....TAKEN FOR A BIG LONG RIDE......BY THAT FAKE INTERPRETER IN THE MANDELA FUNERAL....


IMAGINE.....CRASHING AND BYPASSING ALL THAT SECURITY ALONE !!!!!!!!!.......THEN....PRETENDING TO INTERPRET FOR THE DEAF WITH .....FAKE SIGN LANGUAGE....LOL....LOL....LOL......AND NOBODY PICKING IT  UP !!!!!!


I RECOMMEND THAT THE CIA .....HIRE THIS VERY SMART, WILY,QUICK THINGKING, BRASTARD.......AS A COVERT.....FIELD  OPERATIVE CIA AGENT......BOY...THIS GUY IS....GOOD......AND GOD KNOWS .....THE CIA NEEDS MINORITIES.


AGAIN......CONGRATULATONS TO THIS UNKOWN BLACK MAN.....YOU ARE GOOD!!!!


VALENTINE, COMEDIAN.....LOL....LOL...



haley.murph01
haley.murph01

this is so stupid i feel so sorry for the world leaders that could not verbally speak

TAHKICT
TAHKICT

I knew there was something wrong with what he was doing.

Realworldnonfantasyland
Realworldnonfantasyland

Whoopty doo... Apperently Sign language guy and the president taking a picture with two other heads are the only thing the media can talk about about one of the greater people on the last century.  Good God

hurdygurdygurl
hurdygurdygurl

You do not need to know much sign language, to see that this man is an imposter! Why are intelligent folks, defending the disgraceful behaviour, of this so-called interpreter? My knowledge of sign language and interpreting is limited to a few words, but isn't it immediately obvious to every seeing individual, that this person wasn't even trying to translate anything?

It even looks, as though, he was afraid that he was about to get thrown off stage, during President Obama's eloquent speech, as he got very nervous when someone came up behind him, then he looked very relieved, when he wasn't!

I may not be completely deaf, but I am certainly not blind.



PetrVavruch
PetrVavruch

I have just listened to the deputy minister on the radio and she has confirmed the previous comments: Yes, he was incompetent because he did not understand English well enough and he was not fast enough. He was not appointed by the ministry. He translated for the people at the stadium not for the deaf people internationally. There is not just one sign language in South Africa (the ministry is working on it in order to make it the 12th official language in the RSA). Sign languages in South Africa differ very much from sign languages in other countries.

Fitzwilliams
Fitzwilliams

Yes, the person may have been making up something. A much greater possibility is that he learned a different way to sign than the rest of the people there. I have seen Chinese sign language and guess what, it looks completely different than American. (I din't know the official names for the languages, so please don't get technical.)


Sambruku
Sambruku

Didn't he think he would be found out? Alas! millions were watching!

edzordzigh
edzordzigh

Every country has its own sign language codes. I studied Ghanaian Sign Language at the University of Ghana but I understood only a few sentences the man signed because the South African Sign Language is different from GSL. The same applies to American, British, Japanese Sign Languages. THERE IS NO UNIVERSAL SIGN LANGUAGE.

Kinitra
Kinitra

The Jay Carney of sign language. 

johnsain
johnsain

C'mon people!,...he's signing in Ebonics....geeeez!

jalangaya
jalangaya

Mandela's smarmy leftist schmooze-fest of a funeral had the look of fakery & chicanery. It was all about face-time for pandering political ponces.

hurdygurdygurl
hurdygurdygurl

So, exactly what sign language was he using, other than his own?

hurdygurdygurl
hurdygurdygurl

This rogue so-called interpreter, wasn't only incompetent, he was also not even attempting to translate anything. This person is an imposter and a disgrace to himself and whoever authorized his presence at Nelson Mandela's Memorial.

hurdygurdygurl
hurdygurdygurl

Is it not obvious, that he wasn't even trying to translate?

daisy2078
daisy2078

@Fitzwilliams  American sign and Chinese signs are going to be different because sign language is not standard from country to country. Just like there is not the same spoken language from country to country. It would be impossible to have universal signs. Think about it.