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Sign Language Interpreter in Florida Signs Incorrect Words During Hurricane Irma

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When officials held a press conference in Manatee County, Florida about Hurricane Irma, a sign language interpreter was present to translate the messages given about the state of emergency. Unfortunately, the interpreter they used did not know sign language well, and he ended up signing quite a bit of gibberish during the live television broadcast. Needless to say, the deaf community isn’t happy with the actions taken by Manatee County to ensure their safety.

According to ABC 13, the interpreter signed words like “pizza, monster, and bear” during the conference. The New York Times adds, “The interpreter often appeared unsure of himself, and he paused frequently. His bright yellow shirt — a no-no for light-skinned signers, who typically wear dark clothing to help their hands standout — didn’t help matters.” People within the deaf community were left confused and scared, knowing they were missing out on very important information.

Inside Edition reports that the interpreter (who works for the county) knew he wasn’t qualified for the job, but he was asked to step in at the last minute because his brother is deaf. Since the words used during an emergency weather situation aren’t normally used in everyday language, he wasn’t able to perform his duties, and he looked visibly shaken while on the air. His family hopes the public will give him a break for trying to step in even though he wasn’t qualified.