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Hurricane Irma sign language interpreter spoke of pizza, bears, monsters during update

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A video posted to You Tube that interpreted Marshall Greene’s sign language has gotten over 600,000 views as of Monday morning

The decision proved to be a bad mistake.

Greene, a lifeguard for the county, veered off course when he began signing words like "pizza", "bear", and "monster", among others - words that had nothing to do with the press conference.

He signed at one point the incoherent sentence: 'Help you at that time to use bear big'. Other information he provided was incomplete, according to experts.

"Everybody was talking about it on social media, everyone was shocked, asking leaders in the deaf community to do something about it", Wagner continued. "It was obvious to me that he wasn't in a professional interpreter right off the bat, and then when he started signing, I was totally shocked", he said.

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.

He also wore a yellow top - interpreters usually wear a colour that contrasts against their skin tone, making their hands stand out. He also repeatedly turned his head towards the podium rather than keep eye contact with the camera.

"He can't expect to communicate something he doesn't know", his father said.

Hurricane Irma sign language interpreter spoke of pizza, bears, monsters during update
Hurricane Irma sign language interpreter spoke of pizza, bears, monsters during update

BuzzFeed News reviewed videos of the county's subsequent briefings, and found that they did not include an interpreter.

The county often uses the company VisCom to provide interpreters, but owner Charlene McCarthy claimed she was never called.

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

"I sorta became a little irate at first", he said.

McCarthy told BuzzFeed News that when she spoke to emergency officials, she also offered to provide an interpreter to the county so the deaf community there could also stay informed during broadcast briefings during Hurricane Irma.

Manatee County officials delivered emergency evacuation orders on September 8 as the storm was quickly approaching.

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