Why Sign Language Interpreters Like De Blasio’s Steal the Show

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If you watched Mayor de Blasio’s conference on the lone Ebola patient in New York City, you couldn’t have failed to notice Jonathan Lamberton, the sign language interpreter at the left of the frame, whose mesmerizing gestures distracted press from the mayor’s actual speech. Lamberton was part of a two-person interpretation team for the conference, which had de Blasio and New York hospital chief Dr. Ram Raju explaining what measures the city was taking to quarantine the Ebola patient, and video of his sign language quickly went viral. But of course it did: In moments where the official line is all straight-faced don’t panic and here are the facts, the expressiveness of sign language provides an emotional outlet for all of us inwardly freaking out.

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