An interpreter for the deaf caused quite a stir when he signed some strange messages during an emergency briefing about a mandatory evacuation order in Manatee County, Florida, as Hurricane Irma barreled toward the state.
According to a report by WPTV, the messages that were intended to inform the deaf members in the community were nothing but gibberish and included words like “monsters,” “pizza” and “bear.”
The briefing occurred on Sept. 8, when county leaders were assembled to address the public and announce crucial information. But that critical information was lost with a sign language interpreter who was obviously inexperienced.
The interpreter, Marshall Greene, was not fluent in American Sign Language and was clearly not qualified to interpret.
After watching this video, especially with the volume down, you could understand why people in the deaf community would be frustrated and offended.
County officials usually use VisCom, a professional interpreting service for matters such as this this, but Manatee County officials told WPTV they were “in a pinch” and asked Greene, an employee, to step in.
Greene’s father explained to WFLA that his son’s bosses asked him to help out with the press conference, and he agreed.
“He can’t expect to communicate something he doesn’t know,” Greene’s father said.
That’s true, which is exactly why the county should have found an experienced individual to sign during this crisis.
Spokesperson for Manatee County Nick Azzara told the Bradenton Herald that they asked Greene to sign during the briefing rather than have no interpreter at all. It seems commonsense to not have anyone sign, than have someone who’s going to botch it entirely.
The deaf community maintained that the interpretation failure put their lives in danger. The also said they were awaiting an apology from the county.
Who can blame them?
Let’s hope the Florida county has worked on this issue and won’t make the same mistake twice.
(via: Conservative Tribune)