Deaf interpreter’s reference company ‘does not exist’

Fake interpreter also gave 'sham' reference.

Thamsanqa Jantjies the so called ‘interpreter’ at the memorial service of former statesman Nelson Mandela was exposed by Deaf SA for being a pretense sign language interpreter.

It became news across the world how the man who had been delegated to represent deaf people gesticulated gibberish in front of millions of viewers at the dignified memorial of Madiba.

The fake interpreters name was revealed yesterday and it has also been discovered that he gave a fake reference according to Deaf SA.

National South Africa language interpreter at Deaf SA, Delphin Hlungwane says the interpreter’s work reference is not creditable anywhere.

“Thamsanqa said he was hired by a company called ‘Interpreters SA’ and that company does not exist, we even googled and found nothing.”

“It was upsetting for Deaf SA because deaf people did not have access to the memorial,” she added.

“SA deaf people were denied from being part of the memorial and other countries did not have an interpreter, it was disrespectful for the deaf,” she said.

“He was not translating from any recognizable language.”

Hlungwane says even if the fake interpreter was translating in African languages it would have been picked up.

“All languages have a gramma structure that can be understood. Although SA does not have a specific interpreter, they needed to get someone professional, well trained with years of experience from a recognizable company. This was just an embarrassment,” she says.  

Hlungwane says they are uncertain about the ‘serious action’ that will be taken against Jantjies.

Sowetan Live tried to get a hold of Jantjies, however his phone led us to voicemail several times.

It was not the first time that Janties translated; he has interpreted at South Africa’s biggest events including the late stalwart Albertina Sisulu’s funeral.