The sign language interpreter at Tuesday's memorial service in Johannesburg for Nelson Mandela may have appeared to have been translating spoken words into gestures during the four hours he appeared on television screens around the world, but he was a fake, observers said Wednesday.
"The so-called 'interpreter' ... at FNB stadium has been dubbed the 'fake interpreter' and the deaf community is in outrage," said Bruno Druchen, national director of the Deaf Federation of South Africa (DeafSA), in a statement.
"He is not known by the Deaf Community in South Africa nor by the South African Sign Language interpreters working in the field."
The man showed no facial expressions, which are key in South African sign language, and his hand signals were meaningless, Druchen said. "It is a total mockery of the language," he added.
"To the best of our knowledge, he has not undergone any formal training."
That happens when we don't investigate the substance of a candidate's credentials. That happens when you pick somebody based on how good they look in a suit. Lots of thrashing around. No content.As outrage over his interpretation skills grew, so did questions over who he was and who hired him.
The primary difference between somebody who is swimming and somebody who is drowning is that the swimmer knows what they are doing.
This event offers a smorgasbord of opportunities for droll comments. My readership is intelligent and I will not belittle you by wallowing in the opportunity. It is enough to say that I am biting my fingers.