Dailies | Jimmy Kimmel Interprets Nelson Mandela Memorial's Fake Sign Language Interpreter (Video)

An actual sign language interpreter interprets the gibberish a man was signing to deaf viewers of Nelson Mandela's memorial service

Ever wonder what gibberish in sign language sounds like? Leave it to Jimmy Kimmel to find out.

In reaction to the news that the sign language interpreter who was supposed to be translating speeches from President Barack Obama and other speakers at Nelson Mandela's memorial service in South Africa on Tuesday was a fraud, Kimmel enlisted in an actual interpreter to interpret the man's signing.

See video: Jimmy Kimmel Reminds Viewers Just How Sensitive Los Angeles Reporters Are To ‘Cold’ Weather

“Inside joining in this week's cigarette inside to prove, and on and on,” Thamsanqa Jantjie told deaf attendees and viewers watching the event, via a professional interpreter named Justin who appeared on Kimmel's ABC late-night program on Wednesday.

The Associated Press reported on Wednesday that the national director of the Deaf Federation of South Africa identified Jantje as a “fake,” while deaf South African parliament member Wilma Newhoudt confirmed the man was, indeed, saying absolutely nothing with his flailing arms.

See photos: Nelson Mandela Death: The Anti-Apartheid Freedom Fighter's Life in Pictures

Kimmel, however, proved Jantjie was saying something — it just didn't make any sense.

The AFP reports that Jantjie has since stepped forward to claim he was experiencing a schizophrenic episode on the job, while the South African government admitted on Thursday that he was ”not a professional sign language interpreter.”

  • Deon Fialkov

    The sign-language guy was a dismal disgrace especially at one of the greatest ceremonies the world has ever seen …

    It is a real shame that the gibberish that was spewed out by this fool caused mayhem for the deaf-impaired audience that really wanted to watch and UNDERSTAND this ceremony of the legend NELSON MANDELA.

  • Nom

    This Jimmy Kimmel person is an idiot. Sign language is not universal. The man's gesticulations were gibberish but getting an AMERICAN sign language translator to ‘translate’ someone who was supposed to be signing in SOUTH AFRICAN (completely different sign languages) proves nothing. What a stupid video.

    • liesl

      He's still a fake. From a South African who watches the news in her own country….

    • Coda terp

      I agree…yes the Mandela interpreter was a fake, but having an American Sign Language interpreter trying to interpret another foreign language sign language will sound like gibberish. I was looking forward to them having an interpreter who knew South African sign language, that's more legit than this.

      • BetYouCantPushJustOne

        Nom and Coda terp are correct.

        Kimmel's sign-language consultant Maurer is fluent in American Sign Language, and by his own statement, not in SASL, which is a completely different language, as different as English and Xhosa. So he was NOT giving an interpretation of what the impostor actually “said”. Rather, he was giving a comic rendition of what the impostor signing looked like, to a signer of a language he doesn't know. Sort of like mondegreens, or the videos posted by Bad Lip Reading.

        An analogous example, would be a non-French speaker “translating” the song Frere Jacques, and coming up with this: “Fry the jackals, fry the jackals, door may view? Door may view? Son, neigh lemon Tina's…” you get the point. This is not French-to-English translation, it's gibberish. That's exactly what the Kimmel “interpreter” was doing–that is, comedy, not analysis.

        Maurer is not qualified to opine on whether Mandela signer Jantjie knows SA sign language, or on what he was “actually” saying.

  • Robert Franklin Moore

    My country's so good, I walked into a giant spiders web and the government gave me a geat job as a sign language translator. Boy the perks are great, now I can afford to build my own private homestead ( Inkandla 2) with my country's tax payers money

  • Steve Parkes

    Jimmy shows his ignorance of baseball when he says the phony interpreter could have a promising career as a “first base coach.” WRONG!!! Signals are given by the THIRD base coach.