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The Language Ombudsman publicly stood up for Kateryna Zabotkina, who was criticized after the National Selection. Photo.

Language Ombudsman Taras Kremin stood up for Kateryna Zabotkina, who was criticized for her poor translation at the National Selection

Taras Kremin, the Commissioner for the Protection of the Ukrainian Language, was delighted with the introduction of sign language interpretation of the Eurovision Song Contest 2024 after the National Selection for the Eurovision Song Contest. Despite criticism from viewers, the ombudsman defends Kateryna Zabotkina, the interpreter who was incredibly popular with the public during the song contest, but remained useless for people who use sign language.

Taras Kremin reminded on Facebook about the importance of observing the laws of Ukraine, namely Article 4, which indicates the functioning of the Ukrainian language for all segments of the population. The ombudsman thanked the organizers of the National Selection for complying with the law, but users did not like this "devotion" to the song contest and Zabotkina, and therefore they were outraged in the comments to the post. However, Kremin defends the interpreter, emphasizing that she has not received any complaints.

The Language Ombudsman publicly stood up for Kateryna Zabotkina, who was criticized after the National Selection. Photo.

"Kateryna Zabotkina, the first sign language interpreter in the history of the Eurovision National Selection, has become not only a real social media star in Ukraine. She really emphasized the importance of ensuring that sign language speakers have the right to information and services in Ukrainian sign language, as defined by Article 4 of the Law of Ukraine "On Ensuring the Functioning of the Ukrainian Language as the State Language," Kremin wrote.

However, the comments noted that not everyone who uses sign language understood Kateryna Zabotkina, which was immediately followed by the ombudsman's response that there were no complaints. Later, he claimed that, in addition to dissatisfaction, there were also thanks. It seems that Kremin did not pay attention to the fact that the positive reviews were mostly written by citizens who could hear, and Kateryna Zabotkina in the lower right corner of the screen was only supplementing the song contest, not translating it.

The Language Ombudsman publicly stood up for Kateryna Zabotkina, who was criticized after the National Selection. Photo.

"How could it not be? The Ukrainian Society of the Deaf issued a statement. I think it would be nice to invite more professional people to this work, and necessarily those for whom it is being done. Because what we had, unfortunately, was only an imitation of inclusiveness," one of the social media users decided to recall a complaint about the translation from the UTOH, who called it "amateurish."

Later, the ombudsman noted that he only wanted to objectively explain the importance of translating TV programs into sign language using Zabotkina's example: "A post about the importance of respecting the rights of sign language speakers and the development of sign language. The speech emphasized the need to increase attention to the country's citizens."

The Language Ombudsman publicly stood up for Kateryna Zabotkina, who was criticized after the National Selection. Photo.

In response, they wrote to the Ombudsman: "Taras Kremin, isn't an unprofessional interpreter whom they don't understand a violation of their rights?" He never responded to this. Citizens' outrage went unheeded.

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