Deaf people living in an area hit by Hurricane Irma missed out on vital information when a sign language interpreter translated it into complete gibberish.
Instead, Marshall Greene talked about pizza and monsters during a press conference that made no sense to deaf people living in Florida’s Manatee County.
Officials said they were ‘in a pinch’ without an official interpreter, so they asked Mr Greene, a lifeguard working for the county with a deaf brother, to step in, WFLA reported.
But viewers with a knowledge of sign language quickly realised something was wrong as Mr Greene failed to convey the latest information about the hurricane.
Subtitled videos show how he made no sense at all, using phrases including ‘help you at that time to use bear big’ and ‘pizza want you are, need be bear monster’.
Mr Greene broke a number of rules associated with signing, including regularly turning to face the speaker.
He also wore a yellow top – interpreters usually wear a colour that contrasts against their skin tone, making their hands stand out.
Charlene McCarthy, the owner of VisCom, an interpreting service that the county usually uses, said she was not contacted about the press conference.
She told WFLA: ‘It was horribly unnerving for me. To watch that, knowing I could provide a qualified, certified interpreter.’
Officials have admitted they made a mistake, while the area’s deaf community has called on them to apologise.