Polemic concerning the fake translation during Mandela’s farewell ceremony
Many people were scandalised by the intervention of the interpreter, Thamsanqa Jantjie, when he translated into sign language the various speeches by the dignitaries who had come to say their farewells to Nelson Mandela.
Indeed, the translator was accused of having done an appalling job during the ceremony.
Firstly, it was the country’s deaf-mute community who spoke out, later supported by the association Deaf SA, who pointed out that it was not the first time that the incriminated translator had been found guilty of such failures during official ceremonies in South Africa. Furthermore, reports on this matter have gone unheeded by the competent authorities.
For the governmental authorities, it was the deputy Minister for the Disabled, Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu, who responded by explaining this poor performance on an error resulting from the interpreter’s relatively poor standard of English.
Thamsanqa Jantjie himself explains his failure on a schizophrenic episode brought on by the stress provoked by the scale of the ceremony, something which has enraged the South African psychiatric community, which has accused him of wishing to hide behind a mental illness in order to hide his own incompetence.
In view of the scale of the polemic, the South African government officially presented its excuses to the country’s deaf-mute community on Friday via its Minister of Culture, Paul Mashatile. The outcome of the scandal is a plan to promulgate a law regulating the profession of interpreter at the start of 2014.