“American Sign Language is a very visual language, so sometimes you have to use pictures to describe what people are saying in English.”

Lydia Callis, whose mom and three siblings are deaf.  Ms. Callis, who is NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s American Sign Language translator, has drawn enthusiastic reaction for her animated translations of his press conferences and updates on Hurricane Sandy.  Her passionate interpretations – particularly contrasted with Mayor Bloomberg’s stone-faced seriousness – have made her an Internet sensation. 

Callis doesn’t get Bloomberg’s speeches in advance, so she follows the news to be prepared for challenging concepts – including words like surge, crane or boom.

Callis’ many fans online include one poster who wrote: “She was mesmerizing in her enthusiasm! I couldn’t stop watching her!”

Talking about her, Callis said, maybe makes “the situation a little bit easier, not focusing on all the negative horrible things that are happening.”

Watch a video of Ms. Callis from last week: