Wednesday, 18 October, 2017

Sign language interpreter accused of signing gibberish during Irma conference

Fears of 'Humanitarian Crisis' in Florida Keys as 5 Are Killed and 5.8 Million Remain Without Power After Irma An On-Air Interpreter Has Been Accused Of Signing Gibberish During Hurricane Irma
Melinda Barton | 17 September, 2017, 12:21

"It was obvious to me he wasn't a professional interpreter right off the bat", he said.

But they definitely didn't need to worry about pizza, bears, or monsters, despite what deaf and hard of hearing residents were warned by a sign language interpreter working for Manatee County during a press conference on the incoming storm.

"This isn't amusing", wrote one Twitter user.

County officials say they have learned from the mistake.

Adam Bradberry, an American Sign Language student from MI whose family lives in Florida, told BuzzFeed News that a deaf friend shared the Facebook Live video with him as it was being broadcast.

"Everyone was talking about it on social media, and everyone was shocked and asking the leaders in deaf community to do something about", said Chris Wagner, former president of the National Association for the Deaf.

McCarthy was alarmed when she saw the briefing and said her company usually provides deaf interpreters to the county.

Others posted YouTube videos of themselves signing what was said in the briefing.

County leaders told WFLA that they were, "in a pinch", and needed an interpreter for the deaf. BuzzFeed News has not yet been able to verify the translation. AL.com reports interpretation duties fell to county lifeguard Marshall Greene, whose brother is deaf.

Meanwhile, the the deaf community is demanding an apology from the county, claiming this was way too unsafe and put lives at risk.

"It was horribly unnerving for me", she explained. "But within the hour they called back and cancelled".

So, now the question is - why wasn't someone called in who was a certified interpreter?

However, she claims, she was never called to help.

County leaders have faced the brunt of the criticism for failing to organise an interpreter despite days of weather warnings.

Since her conversation with county officials on September 8, McCarthy said she has not heard from local officials about what went wrong.