As one world leader after another paid homage to Nelson Mandela at a memorial service, the man standing at arm’s length from them appeared to interpret their words in sign language. But advocates for the deaf say he was a faker.
Whole deaf community here is in an uproar right now. Even though I do not know South African sign language, I can clearly see that the man was an impostor. Yet we are not surprised that this kind of thing happens. Why? Because it happens to us all the fucking time, all over world and in US.
In the US we’re supposed to be ‘the leader in field of sign language interpreter’ yet we are not. According to this site, I’ve counted a total of states that do not have laws requiring certification for interpreters in fields of schools, courts, state agencies, and medical. If I counted correctly, a total of more than 30 states lack full certification requirements for interpreters for all school, court, government, and medical related.
More than 30 states have interpreters who are not qualified yet they are out there, interpreting very important information for our deaf children in schools, for our deaf sick patients in hospitals, and for our deaf people in courts. It is costing us OUR EDUCATION, OUR HEALTH, AND OUR SAFETY.
I cannot tell you how many times I’ve came across interpreters who are very very very unqualified. How many times I’ve gotten screwed over in schools and at doctor appointments because of ‘fakes’ like Thami Jantjie (name of the “”interpreter”” at Nelson Mandela’s ceremony). Fakers are constantly taking advantage of lack of screening for sign languages. They’re constantly taking advantage of non signers who are stupid enough to hire them WITHOUT requiring them to have certification.
Do you realize that you, hearing people, are getting screwed over too. We deaf people do have important information that we need to share. We couldn’t do it without qualified interpreters.
We are still fighting to get all states to pass laws requiring more certifications for interpreters.
But for now, let this be a lesson for us all… Next time you hire an interpreter, ask for certificated interpreters, please.
Might as well adding insult to injury. Thanks, the Today show.