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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Lydia Callis: During Superstorm Sandy, All Eyes on Bloomberg's Super Interpreter

By Lylah M. Alphonse
Lydia Callis interprets for New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg during a press conference on Oct. 28. (Photo: Andrew …During Superstorm Sandy, while New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg addressed anxious citizens about storm damage and safety issues, all eyes were on the petite, impeccably dressed woman to his right—Lydia Callis, his official sign language interpreter.

While the mayor spoke in his trademark businesslike monotone and stiff, stilted Spanish, Callis brought his words to life, adding expression and emotion as her fingers and hands flew to translate each briefing into American Sign Language.

Watching her gave New Yorkers "a legitimate reason to smile," New York magazine enthused. Her animated interpretations have made her so popular that the mayor began his Tuesday afternoon press conference by thanking her, and she's inspired a Tumblr full of .gifs and a legion of online fans. 

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