‘Fake’ Sign Language Interpreter at Mandela Memorial Causes Outrage

The interpreter
The interpreter

An imposter interpreter has sparked outrage, especially in the deaf community, for fake-signing at South African icon Nelson Mandela’s memorial service.

According to Yahoo, an Australian website obtained confirmation of the deception from the World Federation of the Deaf Youth Section board member Braam Jordaan. The interpreter was faking it.

"The structure of his hand, facial expressions and the body movements did not follow what the speaker was saying," Jordaan was quoted as saying on the Australian site, SBS News. "What happened at the memorial service is truly disgraceful … it should not happen at all." Jordaan also said that the interpreter appeared to be making up hand movements.

Sheena Walters, a representative from the World Association of Sign Language Interpreters, also confirmed that the signs being used were phony.


"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," Walters said.

Reportedly, the African National Congress has used the interpreter at other events, and this is not the first time his method has been questioned.

Read more at Yahoo.

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