“It was horribly unnerving for me to watch that, knowing I could provide a qualified, certified interpreter”, she fumed.
A sign language interpreter has been accused of being a phony after taking the stage during a Hurricane Irma news conference.
“It was obvious to me he wasn’t a professional interpreter right off the bat”, he said. But because he has a deaf brother, either Greene – or some county official – believed that that was a strong enough credential to stick him next to a podium and task him with keeping the area’s deaf community abreast of the devastating storm’s movements, and what they should be doing to protect themselves.
Members of the deaf community say Greene mostly signed gibberish, including references to “pizza” and “monsters”.
“They said yes, for the next morning at 9:30 am”, she said.
Charlene McCarthy, the founder of VisCom sign language interpretation service agency, said she wished the county would have called her. Chris Wagner spoke with us via interpreter from his home in Clearwater.
Wagner said Greene also fell foul of basic good practice for interpreters by wearing a bright yellow shirt, thereby making his hands less visible to deaf viewers.
That, in addition, is never done.
McCarthy said she was not given any explanation about the identity of the man signing at the briefing, or why the county made a decision to use him as an interpreter during the briefing.
We spoke with the interpreter’s family Tuesday night.
People in Florida’s deaf community are still waiting for answers as to why Manatee County’s emergency operations center used an interpreter for the deaf who, instead of relaying important information about Hurricane Irma, signed “gibberish”.
Greene’s family stuck up for him in the midst of the criticism, saying, “He can’t expect to communicate something he doesn’t know”.
The deaf community is demanding an apology from the county for the blunder, according to WFLA.