This Florida County Used An Interpreter Who Signed "Gibberish" During Hurricane Irma

Cheryl Sanders
September 17, 2017

WSVN reports that members of Florida's deaf community are demanding an apology from the county after Greene's signing, saying his interpreting was unsafe and endangered people's lives.

An American county's last-minute decision to rope in an amateur interpreter for a press briefing on Hurricane Irma has triggered a controversy after experts said the lifeguard signed words such as "pizza", "monster" and "bear". County officials tell WPTV they were "in a pinch" to find a qualified professional interpreter for the briefing, so they asked an employee.

Manatee County leaders asked Marshall Greene to pitch in shortly before they were to address the public with "crucial" information, New York Post said in a report. In a news conference the Friday before Hurricane Irma made landfall, county officials laid out the basics for evacuation guidelines, but hearing impaired viewers got slightly different instructions: "Pizza want you are need be bear monster".

Manatee County officials delivered emergency evacuation orders on September 8 as the storm was quickly approaching. County leaders tell WFLA they learned a lesson after making a mistake.


She told WFLA: 'It was horribly unnerving for me.

"They said yes, for the next morning at 9:30 am", she said.

The county chose to not use an interpreter from VisCom, a professional sign language interpreting service, as it usually does.

"I knew something went horribly wrong", Charlene McCarthy told WFLA.


So, now the question is - why wasn't someone called in who was a certified interpreter?

She followed up: 'To Deaf residents of Manatee County. "I was totally shocked", said Chris Wagner, who is a former president of the National Association of the Deaf.

Greene's family said he was simply asked to help out during a hard time.

Meanwhile, the the deaf community is demanding an apology from the county, claiming this was way too unsafe and put lives at risk.


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