You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.

X

Welcome to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

Sign language interpreter at Mandela ceremony a 'fake'


A man who appeared to provide sign language interpretation on stage for Nelson Mandela's memorial service, attended by scores of heads of state, was a "fake," the national director of the Deaf Federation of South Africa said on Wednesday.

The unidentified man seen around the world on television next to leaders including United States President Barack Obama "was moving his hands around but there was no meaning in what he used his hands for," Bruno Druchen, the federation's national director, told The Associated Press.

The allegation was yet another example of bad organization at the historic memorial service Tuesday, which was marred by public transportation breakdowns that hindered mourners from getting to the soccer stadium venue. In addition a faulty audio system made the remarks of world leaders inaudible for many. Police also failed to search the first wave of crowds who rushed inside the stadium after authorities opened the gates just after dawn.

Collins Chabane, one of South Africa's two presidency ministers, said the government is investigating the matter but has not finished yet because it has been overwhelmed with work organizing public viewing of Mandela's body in the South African capital of Pretoria and his funeral Sunday in his hometown of Qunu. He added the "government will report publicly on any information it may establish."

Four sign language experts, including Druchen, said the man was not signing in South African or American sign languages and could not have been signing in any other known sign language because there was no structure to his arm and hand movements. South African sign language covers all of the country's 11 official languages, according to the federation.

Ingrid Parkin, principal of the St. Vincent School for the Deaf in Johannesburg, said she's received complaints from the deaf community from Canada to China about the man on stage and that his movements look "like he's signing gibberish." He also used no facial expression to convey the emotions of the leaders, a key element of sign language interpretation.

"This man himself knows he cannot sign and he had the guts to stand on an international stage and do that," Parkin said.

Nicole Du Toit, an official sign language interpreter who also watched the broadcast, said in a telephone interview that the man on stage purporting to sign was an embarrassment.

"It was horrible, an absolute circus, really, really bad," she said. "Only he can understand those gestures."

The man also did sign interpretation at an event last year that was attended by South African President Jacob Zuma, Druchen said. At that appearance, a deaf person in the audience videotaped the event and gave it to the federation for the deaf, which analyzed the video, prepared a report about it and a submitted a formal complaint to the ANC, Druchen said.

In their complaint, the federation suggested that the man should take the five years of training needed to become a qualified sign language interpreter in South Africa. But the ANC never responded, Druchen said.

Druchen said a fresh complaint will be filed to the ANC about the interpreter he called a "fake" with a demand for an urgent meeting.

"We want to make a statement that this is a warning to other sign language interpreters who are fake and go about interpreting," Druchen said. "I am hoping the South African government will take notice of this."

Bogus sign language interpreters are a problem in South Africa, because people who know a few signs try to pass themselves off as interpreters, said Parkin, the principal of the school for the deaf. And those hiring them usually don't sign, so they have no idea that the people they are hiring cannot do the job, she said.

"They advertise themselves as interpreters because they know 10 signs and they can make some quick money," said Parkin. "It is plain and simple abuse of the deaf community, they are taking advantage of the deaf community to make money."

___

Associated Press writer Nastasya Tay contributed to this report.

___

Follow Alan Clendenning on Twitter at —



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Nation World

Brothers allegedly beat uncle to death with sledgehammer to ‘bond’
Brothers allegedly beat uncle to death with sledgehammer to ‘bond’

Two brothers allegedly killed their uncle because he “was coming between them,” authorities said.  Jacob Johnson, 20, and his brother Liam, 18, both of New Mexico, allegedly “lured” their uncle outside and beat him to death with a sledgehammer, KRQE reported. The brothers dumped the body on the Mesa, where it was later...
JUST IN: Pizza shop that posted anti-Hillary sign to shut down
JUST IN: Pizza shop that posted anti-Hillary sign to shut down

The Springboro pizza restaurant that triggered both a backlash and a wave of support last November after posting an anti-Hillary-Clinton message on its message board days before the presidential election will shut down effective Sunday, its owners announced on social media. Posting on the Active Springboro Community Facebook page, Austin Kaiser, who...
WATCH: Florida dog barks at gator sitting outside window
WATCH: Florida dog barks at gator sitting outside window

No one wants to come home and find an alligator in the yard, including one Florida dog. John Sivula, of Land O’ Lakes, and his four-legged friend had an unwanted visitor Wednesday, WFTS reported.  In video Sivula captured, the dog can be seen barking at the reptile sitting right outside the window as trappers haul it away.  >...
Teen plans storybook photo shoot for little sister
Teen plans storybook photo shoot for little sister

An Ohio teen had a fairy tale plan to make his little sister’s dreams come true. Christina Angel said her 13-year-old son wanted to do something special for his 5-year-old little sister, who is also his biggest supporter, WLS reported. >> Read more trending news Angel’s son suffers from depression and he wanted to do something to...
Dog recovering after eating nails wrapped in hot dogs
Dog recovering after eating nails wrapped in hot dogs

The owners of a 4-year-old Yorkshire terrier mix are trying to understand why someone left nails wrapped in hot dogs at their Wisconsin apartment complex. >> Read more trending news Tom Deakin and his girlfriend, Jennifer Ramos, are the owners of Clarice, the dog that is recovering after eating the hot dogs, WISC reported. The dog ate six...
More Stories