Manatee County’s Hurricane Irma Sign Language Interpreter Warned Of Pizza, Monsters, And Bears

Manatee County's sign language interpreter wasn't exactly qualified.

Manatee County’s sign language interpreter wasn’t exactly qualified.

Sign Language Interpreter Not Qualified

Manatee County, FL – Video of a Manatee County’s sign language interpreter is going viral after the interpreter gave hysterically awful translations (video below.)

For unknown reasons, Manatee County was not prepared to assist their deaf residents at a September 8 press conference held at the Manatee County Emergency Operations Center, in the days before Hurricane Irma’s arrival.

Instead, officials used a county lifeguard, Marshall Greene, whose brother is deaf, according to the Times-Picayune.  Greene does not appear to actually be an interpreter.

Officials are now catching heat from deaf residents who watched the September 8 press conference about Hurricane Irma, which was forecast to hit the area just a few days after the broadcast.

Deaf residents said that Greene signed “mostly gibberish”, referred to “pizza”, “bear monsters”, and said things like, “help you at that time to use bear big.”

They also said that he signed “incomplete information.”

Jason Hurdich, a well-known certified deaf interpreter, described Greene’s signing as “horrible and embarrassing”.  He also said that it was “incohrerent.”  The information from that particular press conference included a mandatory evacuation of residents in zone A.

Hurdich said that all governments should have a certified interpreter, according to the Bradenton Herald.  He said, “It’s critical, especially in an emergency situation.”

Manatee County officials usually use interpreters from VisCom, a professional sign language interpreting service.  Charlene McCarthy, the owner of VisCom, said that she was not contacted about providing an interpreter for the September 8 press conference.

She also said that it appeared that Greene was not fluent in American Sign Language.

Nick Azzara, Manatee County Spokesperson, said that Greene was asked to sign at that particular press conference rather than not having anyone to sign.  He said that the county has now asked the state of Florida to provide an interpreter, and public information assistance from the state.

You can see the video with sign language captions below: