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Lydia Callis, Mayor Bloomberg's Sign Language Interpreter

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Published on Oct 30, 2012

Mayor Michael Bloomberg's sign-language interpreter Lydia Callis became a star overnight on Monday when she injected some unintentional humor into news of a 13-foot surge, cut power lines and flooded substations.

As more than six million people lost power on Monday, New Yorkers who were still connected to Facebook through iPads, iPhones and Blackberries found a bit of light in a dark situation: Lydia Callis, Mayor Bloomberg's very-dramatic, very-gesticulating sign-language interpreter.
"Is anyone else watching the hilarious facial expressions of the sign language translator during Bloomberg's press conference?" Adam Moore, president of Moore Creative Living in NYC, wrote on Facebook. "Hilarious!"

Though some of Moore's friends on Facebook initially misunderstood the comment, Moore told iDigitalTimes that he "loved the fact that she was gesturing like a New Yorker." Other viewers agreed. "I love that lady," wrote one commenter on the video of the presser uploaded to YouTube.

Adrienne Gusoff responded to Moore's status update saying: "I was noticing how much 'personality' these women have. There was a black woman signing behind the mayor yesterday and she was SOOOO animated, I thought, 'she needs her own TV show!'"

"Interpreting does require a bit of exaggeration in order to communicate visually over a medium without a lot of pixels. Similar to how Shakespearean performers have to develop a highly exaggerated speech pattern in order to be clearly understood as 'whispering' even though they are really shouting to a large crowd," Sam Ley wrote on BoingBoing.net. "It can be a bit goofy at times, and people emulate Patrick Stewart's voice all the time in cheerful parody, but they notice it because it works."

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