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What the Mandela Interpreter Really Said

It was just 'gibberish,' actual interpreter tells Jimmy Kimmel

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 13, 2013 7:30 AM CST | Updated Dec 13, 2013 7:57 AM CST
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(Newser) – By now, we all know the sign language interpreter at Nelson Mandela's memorial service wasn't actually interpreting anything. But what was Thamsanqa Jantjie actually signing? To answer that question, Jimmy Kimmel brought his own sign language interpreter onstage last night on Jimmy Kimmel Live, the LA Times reports. According to Justin Maurer, here are some of the things Jantjie signed:

  • "I support basic salutations here salutations. Inside joining in this week's cigarette inside to prove and on and on. To support, I would please to say from me to you. Talking to you so far."
  • "Hello. Welcome so far. Well cigarette join bringing in different to you. Circle. And I would like to pray this offering. Basically this is fun, all of these balls to prove this is good. I'm sorry."

"It's complete gibberish," Maurer said, concluding that Jantjie doesn't know sign language "at all." Meanwhile, South Africa today formally apologized for the debacle, AFP reports. But the country's junior minister for disabilities yesterday insisted Jantjie is a real interpreter who was probably just tired. (Jantjie himself says he suffers from schizophrenia.) The country's arts and culture minister, however, today said the interpretation profession will be regulated in the future "so that this kind of incident doesn’t happen ever again."

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