Ausnew Home Care | Auslan 'Sign Guy' delivers emergency messages

Auslan 'Sign Guy' delivers emergency messages to the deaf community – rain, hail or shine

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Meet the man who makes it possible for deaf people to know what's happening during emergency weather events.

Mark Cave, also known as the "Sign Guy", interprets Auslan for Deaf Services Queensland during emergency broadcasting for cyclones, floods and severe storms.

Auslan is the language deaf people in Australia communicate with.

During major weather events, including Cyclone Debbie earlier this year, Mr Cave was one of a core group seen interpreting the Premier's announcements alongside emergency services personnel.

"It can be stressful as usually I interpret to one person, but in an emergency broadcast it's a whole host of cameras and you don't have an audience to immediately connect with," he said.

"You know the importance of the message you're interpreting, you can't make mistakes, you can't mislead people and you need to make sure you keep up.

Spreading the word about Auslan

The emergency broadcasts have displayed Mr Cave's enthusiasm for his work and his previous appearances have spurred a strong following of social media fans.

Mark Cave signing on the street. Ausnew Home Care, NDIS registered provider, My Aged Care
Mark Cave is one of a group of translators that assists during an emergency to sign Auslan.(

ABC Radio Brisbane: Jessica Hinchliffe


"You can't boast though about something you've been given and Auslan has been given to us by the deaf community.

"We appreciate the community's trust in us to do this job along with them — not as their helpers, but as their allies."

Falling in love with the job

Mr Cave prepares for each event by researching to be able to calibrate to the language being used in each situation.

"We stay glued to the radio like ABC and other broadcasts to keep up to date with the names being mentioned and what possible outcomes there could be," he said.

"It's been great to get positive feedback and it's nice to know we're reaching the mark by being able to provide a service to this vibrant community ... it gives you a lot of satisfaction.

"It's great for the hearing community to be aware that English is often a second language to this community and as a basic human right it would be great to see it used more in every facet of life."

Mr Cave's parents are deaf and he was raised using Auslan in the home.

Mark Cave signing in a tv studio.
Mr Cave has worked in many locations from TV studios to festivals.(

ABC Radio Brisbane: Jessica Hinchliffe


"At uni I wanted part-time work to support myself so I became accredited as an interpreter and fell in love with the job."

He weaves his interpreting work with his studies and interpreting for people struggling with mental health issues.

"It is not English on the hands, it's an entirely different language and has its own grammar, syntax and culture attached to the deaf community," Mr Cave said.

"As an interpreter you're given a passport into different parts of people's lives in different circumstances as well as doing something worthwhile."


Source: ABC

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