Beloved ASL Interpreter Dies of Covid-19

Beloved ASL Interpreter Dies of Covid-19

Patty Sakal, an American Sign Language interpreter who translated updates about the coronavirus for deaf Hawaiians, died on Friday of complications from Covid-19, The New York Times reports. She was 62.

Ms. Sakal worked as an A.S.L. interpreter for nearly four decades in a variety of settings, and had become a mainstay in coronavirus press briefings in Hawaii. She worked with both the former mayor of Honolulu, Kirk Caldwell, and Gov. David Y. Ige to interpret news for the deaf community.

Isle Interpret, a local organization of interpreters to which Ms. Sakal belonged, called Ms. Sakal “Hawaii interpreter ‘royalty.’”

This was partly because Ms. Sakal understood Hawaiian Sign Language, a version of American Sign Language developed by deaf elders, which she learned while growing up.

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