Meet the man interpreting those hurricane updates

Deaf interpreter helps during storm coverage

Columbia, SC (WLTX) - For the last several days, standing inches away from South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley at her emergency briefings, you've likely seen Jason Hurdich.

He's the sign language interpreter who's just off to the side of the governor when she's speaking. Even though the New York native has only been in South Carolina for two months, it's  his job is to make sure that everyone watching understands Hurricane Matthew's potential impact on South Carolina.

"A storm is very serious so I need to make sure that i am culturally matching what the deaf community needs when they get their information," he said. 

He's been interpreting for about 15 years.

But as you're listening to the governor and watching Hurdich interpret for the deaf community, he's watching Shonna McGee

"I've worked with Jason for over 10 years and what I do in situations like this is I take the spoken information and I interpret it to him, and he clarifies and expands when necessary for the deaf community to have clarity."

Hurdich is deaf, so in this situation, the interpreter has an interpreter. So he translates what McGee hears.

It's a unique situation which means critical information doesn't get lost in translation for the deaf community.

"Having someone who is a native to your language, giving them the information in their language is always the best, especially in critical situations like a hurricane," McGee said.

"My goal is really to empower the deaf community to really thrive and encourage them to do that and improve their quality of life," Hurdich said. "The South Carolina deaf community really needs deaf leaders and nationwide also."

Interpreting is not Hurdich's full time job. he currently works as a counselor for vocational rehab in Charleston.

 


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