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Lost in translation

Paul McCartney’s latest video features celebrity sign language stuff-ups

You’ve got to hand it to Paul McCartney. After 50 years in the biz, the ex-Beatle is still trying to be innovative. Only trouble is, attempts at innovation always run the risk of backfiring…

The video for Sir Paul’s latest song, My Valentine, has been directed by Macca himself and features Hollywood superstars Natalie Portman and Johnny Depp using sign language to ‘translate’ the song for deaf viewers.

It’s a move that has drawn approval from the British Deaf Association (BDA), whose spokesperson said: ‘It’s great that famous people such as Johnny Depp and Natalie Portman are highlighting the use of sign language. Their use of it is a more poetic expression.’

But poetic as it may be, the actors’ accuracy has left a little to be desired, with Portman apparently signing ‘tampon’ instead of ‘appear’ and Depp signing ‘enemy’ instead of ‘valentine’.

‘The sign for tampon does seem to come up from both Johnny and Natalie, which causes some confusion, especially as American and British sign languages are different,’ added the BDA spokesperson. ‘It would have been nice if genuine deaf people had been used. But it’s still great.’

The Message is all in favour of trying something new when it comes to content creation, but this whole issue does demonstrate the importance of making sure your content does – and says – what you intend it to do. Otherwise, the results for content marketers could be disastrous.


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