Quake fame days now 'a bit of a blur'

17:59, Feb 04 2013
Jeremy Borland and levi borland
HAPPY FAMILY: Jeremy Borland with his wife Nicole Borland and 22 week old baby boy Levi Borland.

After the February 2011 earthquake, Jeremy Borland, "the sign-language guy", became a familiar face on our television sets.

Night after night he appeared on the news, translating the words of Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker and others into sign language.

Two years later, life is slowly returning to normal for Borland.

"It was pretty crazy there, but it has died down," he said.

"I'm back to mainly doing the sort of work I was doing before the earthquakes - intepreting for court cases, police, the university and privately.

"The only difference is that Earthquake Commission claims are continuing. I do a bit of private interpreting for people in regards to that."


There has been one big change for Borland. He and wife Nicole had baby Levi five months ago.

"He's a joy to have," he said. "There have been a few sleepless nights, but we're getting used to that, as all new parents have to."

Levi is the couple's second child. Their first son, Toby, died, aged 3 months, in February 2010 as the result of a genetic condition.

Borland said it was important that Levi grew up fluent in sign language.

"We're already doing some signs. We think he understands the sign for bath," he said.

"He loves his bath and when we do the sign his eyes light up and he starts pretending to splash around and he knows his bath is coming. He is too young to do any signs, but it won't be long."

The months after the February 2011 quake were now "a bit of a blur", Borland said.

"Everything was turned on its head and it all moved very quickly. If I step back for a minute and reflect, it still feels very strange."

Borland became an instant hit and people began recognising him on the street. He was pleased his profile had since died down.

"It was a crazy 15 minutes of being well known and in the public eye. For a couple of months after the earthquakes it went crazy and people would come up to me," he said.

"That was incredibly weird, but that's mostly stopped now. I still occasionally get recognised in an interpreting situation when people put two and two together."

"I feel more comfortable being able to go below the radar now. Part of being an interpreter is being very impartial, and so from a work perspective it's also nice to have a lower profile."

He was pleased the quakes had raised the profile of sign-language interpreting. "The public has a much better understanding now that it is a profession."

The Press