January 28, 2015
He’s been described as “mesmerizing,” “distracting” and even “ridiculous.” Jonathan Lamberton is a deaf New York City sign-language interpreter whose animated signing alongside Mayor Bill de Blasio has gained him notoriety, most recently on The Daily Show. However, Lamberton’s wife Andria Alefhi wants to set the record straight about her husband’s big expressions.
“There’s actually nothing really exaggerated about it, so the joke is kinda on everyone else,” Alefhi tells As It Happens co-host Carol Off. “Everyone in the know just looks at him and says, ‘Yep, that’s a person doing American sign language. It’s good. It’s clear.'”
Alefhi explains that she often works alongside her deaf husband, interpreting what is said to him, who then signs it again.
Why is this necessary? It’s because she has an accent.
“Some deaf people only understand another deaf person or it’s easier to understand a deaf person with that accent removed,” she explains. “It’s not just an accent, there’s actually grammatical components. There’s actually quite a bit to it. But for the average person watching, they probably wouldn’t know the difference.”