The Auslan interpreter who went viral on social media after translating Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s live press conferences during Cyclone Marcia has explained just why his face is so animated.

The #signguy hashtag went viral yesterday because of the Deaf Service Queensland interpreter’s enthusiastic facial expressions.

Well, it turns out #signguy has a name — Mark Cave — and those facial expressions are actually a vitally important part of getting the message across.

“The facial expressions, the speed and the way you produce signs are all similar to intonation in spoken languages, and how you intensify the language you use or soften the language you use,” Mr Cave says in a video produced by the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services in response to his sudden popularity.

“A lot of people think it’s making faces but it’s actually got a syntactic or grammatical meaning behind it.”

Aside from interpreting the Premier’s Cyclone Marcia press conference, Mr Cave’s career highlight came when he interpreted US President Barack Obama’s speech at the University of Queensland during the G20 last year.

The whole video is utterly fascinating and illuminating, and well worth a watch for anyone who had a chuckle at the #signguy online phenomenon.

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