Worcester charity claims Mandela signing farce has sent them back to "old days"

Malvern Gazette: MISSED OPPORTUNITY: Tessa Slaughter and Gordon Hay, Worcester Deaf Direct. MISSED OPPORTUNITY: Tessa Slaughter and Gordon Hay, Worcester Deaf Direct.

A GLOBAL gaffe which saw a ‘fake’ sign language interpreter leave millions of deaf viewers unable to follow Nelson Mandela’s memorial service has been labelled a “missed opportunity” by a Worcester charity.

Deaf people worldwide were left baffled by Thamsanqa Dyantyi’s attempt at translating the words of leading global figures, including American president Barack Obama and social rights activist Desmond Tutu.

And having been outed as a fake, a Worcester-based charity says Mr Dyantyi’s actions were like returning to the “old days”.

“It was a completely missed opportunity,” said Gordon Hay, community manager at Lowesmoor-based Deaf Direct, who is deaf and uses sign language.

“Everyone was watching that service which saw the interpreter standing next to world leaders.

“South Africa has some similarities with British signing, but there were no similarities here.

“He would repeat the hand movements over and over again.

“You could tell it was a fake. I thought we were going back to the old days.

“It was shocking but at least people are talking about signing. It raises the profile.”

He said it was a shame that while the speeches were being made, former president of the World Federation of the Deaf, Liisa Kauppinen, was receiving the 2013 United Nations Human Rights Award prize in New York.

Mr Dyantyi, who is believed to live in Johannesburg, close to where the service remembering South Africa’s first black president was held, has since told media in his home country he “started hearing voices” and began hallucinating.

“It was so obvious he was a fake,” said Tessa Slaughter, senior interpreter at Deaf Direct.

“There is a perception that sign language is not really a language, that it is a gesture, but that’s wrong.

“It is apparently quite common in South Africa to have cowboy interpreters providing the shoddy service we saw.

“But it is not uncommon to have them in this country, too.

“Some interpreters in other parts of the country only have a basic level of sign language.

“I think the reasons are a mix of ignorance and a lack of funding.”

She said Worcestershire, thankfully, is different, with appropriately qualified interpreters on Deaf Direct’s books.

The charity runs sign language courses and has interpreters who can help deaf people access day-to-day activities such as job interviews, GP appointments and parents evenings.

Visit deafdirect.org.uk for more information.

Mr Hay has given your Worcester News readers a very special message. Can you guess what it is here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUwjbTvcfFE&feature=youtu.be

Comments (13)

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3:54pm Fri 13 Dec 13

broken6 says...

Nice to see they have sympathy for this man's mental health issues!
Nice to see they have sympathy for this man's mental health issues! broken6

7:15pm Fri 13 Dec 13

tdslaughter says...

Look on DCAL for expert view as to why this man's sign language did not match the claim of schizophrenia http://wp.me/p408Yl-
2p3. There are many very professional sign language interpreters with mental health issues which do not impede the quality of their work in any way.
Look on DCAL for expert view as to why this man's sign language did not match the claim of schizophrenia http://wp.me/p408Yl- 2p3. There are many very professional sign language interpreters with mental health issues which do not impede the quality of their work in any way. tdslaughter

11:46pm Fri 13 Dec 13

broken6 says...

I didn't say he had schizophrenia ! But, he obviously has some sort of mental health issues if he continues to do this sort of thing? Therefore finding out what problems he may have, before slagging him off, may be the order of the day.

Let's face it, if he does have mental health issues, then taking his word for it that he has schzophrenia, is a bit naive to say the least !
I didn't say he had schizophrenia ! But, he obviously has some sort of mental health issues if he continues to do this sort of thing? Therefore finding out what problems he may have, before slagging him off, may be the order of the day. Let's face it, if he does have mental health issues, then taking his word for it that he has schzophrenia, is a bit naive to say the least ! broken6

12:06am Sat 14 Dec 13

PrivateSi says...

... As The ANC had Totally Forgotten about THE DEAF at the LAST MINUTE the NEAREST SECURITY GUARD was (EMBARRASSINGLY) told to GET UP THERE AND HAND JIVE - for your LIFE///... And that;s being polite.
... As The ANC had Totally Forgotten about THE DEAF at the LAST MINUTE the NEAREST SECURITY GUARD was (EMBARRASSINGLY) told to GET UP THERE AND HAND JIVE - for your LIFE///... And that;s being polite. PrivateSi

9:02pm Sat 14 Dec 13

Brummagem Bertie says...

broken6, I don't see any problem with what has been said. It seems to me that it is entirely factual.

I think that your criticisms would be much better directed at those who allowed this gentleman to be on the stage: I have seen press reports that this is not the first time he has done this at an official function and that there have been previous complaints about him from the South African deaf community.
broken6, I don't see any problem with what has been said. It seems to me that it is entirely factual. I think that your criticisms would be much better directed at those who allowed this gentleman to be on the stage: I have seen press reports that this is not the first time he has done this at an official function and that there have been previous complaints about him from the South African deaf community. Brummagem Bertie

10:27pm Sat 14 Dec 13

broken6 says...

I already mentioned that it's not his first time. If you don't have an issue with berating someone who obviously has some sort of problem, then it's pointless discussing anything further.

It's fair enough to blame those who put him there, but that's no excuse for bullying the poor man.
I already mentioned that it's not his first time. If you don't have an issue with berating someone who obviously has some sort of problem, then it's pointless discussing anything further. It's fair enough to blame those who put him there, but that's no excuse for bullying the poor man. broken6

11:42pm Sat 14 Dec 13

Brummagem Bertie says...

Like I said, I didn't see anything in the article that was bullying towards the gentleman involved or berating him.
Like I said, I didn't see anything in the article that was bullying towards the gentleman involved or berating him. Brummagem Bertie

1:17am Sun 15 Dec 13

Jabbadad says...

I attend several meetings where Sign Language is used and due to the concentration needed by the signers there are normally two Tessa (Featuered) and a coleague. They are amazing and it allows those with hearing impairments the abilty to attend these meetings in an equal capacity.
And in South Africa there obviously was a problem from the very start of the speeches. Had another signer been there they would I am sure, discretely stepped forwards and no one (other than those who use sign language), would have been the wiser. Any criticism should levelled at the organisors.
That poor man looked like a frightened rabbit trapped in the headlights of a car.
I attend several meetings where Sign Language is used and due to the concentration needed by the signers there are normally two Tessa (Featuered) and a coleague. They are amazing and it allows those with hearing impairments the abilty to attend these meetings in an equal capacity. And in South Africa there obviously was a problem from the very start of the speeches. Had another signer been there they would I am sure, discretely stepped forwards and no one (other than those who use sign language), would have been the wiser. Any criticism should levelled at the organisors. That poor man looked like a frightened rabbit trapped in the headlights of a car. Jabbadad

4:32pm Sun 15 Dec 13

broken6 says...

Brummagem Bertie wrote:
Like I said, I didn't see anything in the article that was bullying towards the gentleman involved or berating him.
"Fake", "shoddy", "cowboy", "It was shocking!" Is this not berating him?

If not, then a fake shoddy cowboy like yourself would be oblivious to it!
[quote][p][bold]Brummagem Bertie[/bold] wrote: Like I said, I didn't see anything in the article that was bullying towards the gentleman involved or berating him.[/p][/quote]"Fake", "shoddy", "cowboy", "It was shocking!" Is this not berating him? If not, then a fake shoddy cowboy like yourself would be oblivious to it! broken6

8:08pm Sun 15 Dec 13

Brummagem Bertie says...

Well, he wasn't a genuine sign language interpreter, so factually he was a fake.

I take cowboy to mean someone who isn't qualified to do the job they are employed to do and consequently let down those relying on them. Seems factually accurate.

Yes it was shocking and shoddy - deaf people were watching and expecting to be able to follow the service. They weren't able to. That is shocking, in this day and age, and they had a shoddy service and experience.

More to the point, the only one of those criticisms directed personally to the gentleman concerned was that he was a fake. The other words you quote, out of context, were referring to the situation and events, not the person.

That you do not appear to be able to recognise or achnowledge this important difference is regrettable. That you feel it is appropriate to personally abuse someone just because they view things differently to you and express a different opinion is rather pathetic.
Well, he wasn't a genuine sign language interpreter, so factually he was a fake. I take cowboy to mean someone who isn't qualified to do the job they are employed to do and consequently let down those relying on them. Seems factually accurate. Yes it was shocking and shoddy - deaf people were watching and expecting to be able to follow the service. They weren't able to. That is shocking, in this day and age, and they had a shoddy service and experience. More to the point, the only one of those criticisms directed personally to the gentleman concerned was that he was a fake. The other words you quote, out of context, were referring to the situation and events, not the person. That you do not appear to be able to recognise or achnowledge this important difference is regrettable. That you feel it is appropriate to personally abuse someone just because they view things differently to you and express a different opinion is rather pathetic. Brummagem Bertie

12:16pm Mon 16 Dec 13

broken6 says...

I deliberately chose the words you personally did not feel were abusive. So why you're getting upset now is baffling! If someone cannot do a specific job because of possible mental health issues, then using these words about the situation he found himself in is unacceptable to anyone with any amount of compassion. If you can't see that, then that says more about you yhsn me !
I deliberately chose the words you personally did not feel were abusive. So why you're getting upset now is baffling! If someone cannot do a specific job because of possible mental health issues, then using these words about the situation he found himself in is unacceptable to anyone with any amount of compassion. If you can't see that, then that says more about you yhsn me ! broken6

5:17pm Mon 16 Dec 13

Brummagem Bertie says...

The words that you used towards me were abusive because you aimed them at me personally.

The words in the report were not abusive because they were not directed at the gentleman personally, or even at all, but described the situation and events. They were critical of the people who put the gentleman in that situation, even though it seemed that they knew full well the issues surrounding his ability, having received similar complaints in the past.

The fact that you choose to spend so much time criticising people like Gordon and Tessa, who provide a vital service to people who are often marginalised and disadvantaged by society's view of their disability, and personally abusing someone just because they disagree with you, with nary a peep directed at those who have exploited the gentleman in the story and failed deaf people all over the world points to a rather strange world view.
The words that you used towards me were abusive because you aimed them at me personally. The words in the report were not abusive because they were not directed at the gentleman personally, or even at all, but described the situation and events. They were critical of the people who put the gentleman in that situation, even though it seemed that they knew full well the issues surrounding his ability, having received similar complaints in the past. The fact that you choose to spend so much time criticising people like Gordon and Tessa, who provide a vital service to people who are often marginalised and disadvantaged by society's view of their disability, and personally abusing someone just because they disagree with you, with nary a peep directed at those who have exploited the gentleman in the story and failed deaf people all over the world points to a rather strange world view. Brummagem Bertie

8:09pm Mon 16 Dec 13

broken6 says...

This story wants people to take deafness seriously. THAT IS GREAT! But, you can't ask for people to take your cause seriously, while simultaneously denegrating a situation where the man involved possibly has other (just as important) issues. I'm not "abusing" you for having different opinions. I'm just saddened to see that you cannot see that this story IS detrimental to the man involved!

You are obvioulsy happy with the way this situaution has been treated and that's your business! I am not!
This story wants people to take deafness seriously. THAT IS GREAT! But, you can't ask for people to take your cause seriously, while simultaneously denegrating a situation where the man involved possibly has other (just as important) issues. I'm not "abusing" you for having different opinions. I'm just saddened to see that you cannot see that this story IS detrimental to the man involved! You are obvioulsy happy with the way this situaution has been treated and that's your business! I am not! broken6

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