When Hurricane Irma hit Florida early this month, strong winds and flash floods weren’t the only dangers to residents. Pizzas and monsters were too.
Members of the deaf community are upset over a botched sign language interpretation during a September 8 press conference.
The emergency briefing by officials in Manatee County in Florida involved an amateur sign language interpreter, who translated important information into complete gibberish. Some of the words and phrases he referenced were “pizza,” “monsters,” and “help you at that time to use bear big.”
According to county officials, they were “in a pinch.” So they asked lifeguard Marshall Greene – who has a brother who is deaf – to step in as interpreter, instead of having none at all.
Charlene McCarthy, the owner of a professional sign language interpreting agency who usually provides interpreters for the county, said she was not contacted for the press conference.
“It was horribly unnerving for me,” said McCarthy. “To watch that, knowing I could provide a qualified, certified interpreter.”
She added: “I don’t know why they didn’t call.
Those well versed in ASL quickly realised something was wrong when they noticed Green wearing a bright yellow top instead of a dark one. Pros typically wear colours that contrast their skin tone to make their hands more visible to viewers.