#SignGuy: The interpreter stealing the show for all the wrong reasons

Feb 19, 2015 at 11:34 p.m. ET
Image: Image: Press Conference

A sign language interpreter has become the latest trending topic on Twitter, with people falling in love with his animated expressions. But what they might not understand is that that's just part of how the deaf community communicates.

A sign language interpreter translating Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk's broadcast on Friday has since developed a fan base after viewers fell in love with his larger-than-life animated expressions.

Sharing the important updates with the deaf community tuning in, the interpreter, who has been dubbed #SignGuy on Twitter, has since been winning people over. But Sign Guy has also become an important reminder of the Australian deaf community and how they communicate.

"It's great that people are getting to see sign language interpreters more often," says Sara Romes, certified American sign language interpreter. "But often what people don't understand is that what appears to be the interpreter's animation or enthusiasm for the subject is actually just part of the grammatical structure of the language."

Sara says the nature of sign language is so expressive because the deaf require visual cues to pick up on information that would be heard in an audible conversation.

"Vocal intonation is going to be shown visually on the face — if the speaker is animated or emotional, that's going to show on the interpreter's face," she says.

"Most importantly, sign languages show grammar on the face. It sounds strange, but that is how signs can be categorised into being a question or a subject.

"Severity of something is shown on the face as well — it's what makes the difference between regular rain and a downpour, a tornado versus a hurricane, a sour piece of candy or a really sour piece of candy!

"Basically there is a lot more to the language than just a bunch of signs put together."

Sign Guy might be the latest Twitter trend, but maybe he's also shedding a bit of light onto the greater deaf community and how they communicate.

Here's how people have been sharing the love for Sign Guy on Twitter.

Even early on, people were saying Sign Guy stole the show from Cyclone Marcia: 


Some just loved his work and gave him a big thumbs up:


While others, unfortunately, didn't realise how facial expressions and big gestures are such a big part of Australian sign language:


What do you think about the reaction to Sign Guy? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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