So… This is awkward.
Turns out the guy who did all the signing for the deaf community at Nelson Mandela’s funeral was totally faking it.
Like, actually faking it. He was just standing up on stage, while world leaders were giving heartfelt speeches, waving his arms around completely nonsensically.
Basically the equivalent of Barack Obama getting up there and just speaking gibberish.
Nobody knows his name or where he came from. They’ve been calling him The Fake Interpreter. This is him (to the right, saying “ksjdgb ksjdbg aiurar sdhfc aeaf kljdhg purple monkey dishwasher”):
This is a video (via UK deaf news website Limping Chicken) of The Fake Interpreter signing compared with an actual professional who, you know, knows how to sign:
So WTF happened? How did this guy think he would get away with it? Obviously the deaf community were going to notice that his ‘interpretation’ was more of the dance variety than the official sign language variety.
The “Um… What’s up with THIS guy?” tweets starting coming thick and fast. Wilma Newhoudt, the first ever deaf member of South Africa’s parliament, was one of the first notice:
ANC linked interpreter cannot sign at all, he’s making up signs. Please get him off
— wilma newhoudt (@newhoudt) December 10, 2013
The director of the Deaf Federation of South Africa, Bruno Druchen, tweeted this:
Please get RID of this CLOWN interpreter,please! pic.twitter.com/ziAZ4KBFNZ
— Bruno Peter Druchen (@BrunoDruchen) December 10, 2013
Some people were concerned that maybe it was a language barrier (sign language can differ from country to country), but Sheena Walters, from the World Association of Sign Language Interpreters says, “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.”
So basically, he was definitely just some random making stuff up.
Apparently he’s done it before at other official ANC events in South Africa. So he has actually made a CAREER out of faking it. (The South African government are ‘preparing a statement’ ie ‘desperately trying to figure out what the hell went down’.)
But how? Who is this enigma? Where did he come from and where does he go at night? And how did he get started? Did he just fake it one time and then not know how to stop? Did he put ‘fluent signer’ on his resume, not expecting anyone to ever call him on it? Did he tell one little white lie and then find himself on a runaway train of interpreting glory that ended with him on stage at one of the most televised moments in history?
Maybe we’ll never know (although we almost definitely will – everybody is looking for this dude).
kjdg wohfewoe nzjf biusrhfap ncsjdf sdf table poop apple.
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