You see her each day interpreting Gov. DeWine’s COVID-19 briefing to sign language: Her name is Marla Berkowitz

You see her each day interpreting Gov. DeWine’s COVID-19 briefing to sign language: Her name is Marla Berkowitz
Marla Berkowitz (Source: Carroll County Board of Developmental Disabilities)

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Marla Berkowitz is one person responsible for providing critical information regarding the coronavirus pandemic to a specific group of Ohioans.

Berkowitz, a native of New York, can be seen alongside of Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine every afternoon during his daily COVID-19 briefings.

She provides American Sign Language interpretation to the deaf community as the Governor speaks.

But what makes Berkowitz even more unique is that she is deaf, and is the only certified deaf interpreter in the state of Ohio, according to the Carroll County Board of Developmental Disabilities.

According to the Carroll County agency, because Berkowitz is deaf, someone actually first signs to her. She then interprets it back to the audience watching coverage of DeWine’s press conferences.

Berkowitz’s exaggerated facial expressions are also critical when interpreting to American Sign Language, the Carroll County Board of Developmental Disabilities said. They help express emotion and reason in her signs.

Since Berkowitz has been included in the important daily updates from state officials, she has gained quite the social media following. A Facebook group full of her fans was even created for her followers.

You can watch Berkowitz, who is one of three interpreters featured during the Governor’s regular press conferences, in the video below:

Gov. DeWine discusses death toll from COVID-19 in Ohio during daily briefing https://bit.ly/2y1uH2q

Posted by Cleveland 19 News on Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Berkowitz is also a senior lecturer for the Ohio State University’s American Sign Language program. She has a master’s degree in deaf studies from New York University and another degree in Jewish studies from the Jewish Theological Seminary.

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