The snowstorm that hit the East Coast last week was dramatic. And New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s television briefings could be described similarly. It wasn’t the Mayor’s delivery of his updates that were so eye opening, but that of his American Sign Language interpreter partner, Jonathan Lamberton. Not only did Mr. Lamberton deliver accurate interpretations of the Mayor’s speeches, he also used theatrical facial expressions and body movements to supplement the hearing-impaired viewer’s ability to process and understand the Mayor’s words. It’s worth watching just how effective he is.
And it wasn’t only the hearing impaired that were impressed. Mr. Lamberton became an almost instant sensation, being covered by the New York Times and other major media outlets. The public was enamored with his dynamism. Underlying his vibrant personality are the true keys to being a successful interpreter…the ability to get messages across quickly, while capturing the subtleties and sentiments of the speaker’s intended messages. Mayor de Blasio used a very serious demeanor and a steady tone during his briefings and so the hearing impaired likely wouldn’t have understood the full extent of the Mayor’s messages without Mr. Lamberton’s sign and emotional translations. Mr. Lamberton accomplished this with expert-level effectiveness.
The industry’s top interpreters, for spoken language interpretation as well as for American Sign Language interpretation, are able to process and translate both the words that are being spoken and the underlying tone and emotion of the discourse. In the most sensitive of scenarios, such as in hospitals, courts, and law enforcement agencies, it’s absolutely critical to get the subtleties perfect. There is really no substitute for a live interpreter, although the technologies that enable video remote interpreting are proving to be effective in a rapidly growing number of use cases. We applaud Mr. Lamberton for this quite excellent showcase of a top interpreter’s ability to provide accurate, clear, and rapid translations.
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