[games_access] Technique links words to signing

Eelke Folmer eelke.folmer at gmail.com
Sun Sep 16 20:00:24 EDT 2007


Hi Barrie,

Very interesting but unless you use mechanical puppets to animate the
sign language in a non digital environment, wouldn't it just be easier
to just use text? e.g. render subtitles on a screen? Or am I missing
something here? Is sign language the same for different languages or
is it universal?

Cheers Eelke




On 9/15/07, Barrie Ellis <barrie.ellis at oneswitch.org.uk> wrote:

>

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> A group of students working for IBM develops technology that automatically

> converts the spoken word to British Sign Language.

>

> Technology that translates spoken or written words into British Sign

> Language (BSL) has been developed by researchers at IBM.

>

> The system, called SiSi (Say It Sign It) was created by a group of students

> in the UK.

>

> SiSi will enable deaf people to have simultaneous sign language

> interpretations of meetings and presentations.

>

> It uses speech recognition to animate a digital character or avatar.

>

> IBM says its technology will allow for interpretation in situations where a

> human interpreter is not available.

>

> It could also be used to provide automatic signing for television, radio and

> telephone calls.

>

> 'Disenfranchised citizens'

>

> The concept has already gained the approval of the Royal National Institute

> for Deaf people (RNID).

>

> "RNID welcomes any development that would make the information society a

> more equal place for deaf and hard of hearing people," said the charity's

> director of new technologies, Guido Gybels.

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> "Sign language users are among the most disenfranchised citizens as a result

> of services and products not being designed with their needs in mind."

>

> But Mr Gybels says there is still a long way to go before such prototypes

> are in everyday use.

>

> IBM runs a yearly initiative called Extreme Blue which invites

> technically-minded and business students to collaborate for 12 weeks.

>

> "We had a profoundly deaf mentor, so he kept a close eye on what was being

> done and checking whether our translation corresponded to real BSL," said

> Maria Vihljajeva, the student who developed the business plan for SiSi.

>

> The students used two signing avatars developed by the University of East

> Anglia.

>

> One of them signs in BSL and the other uses Sign Supported English - a more

> direct translation using conventional syntax and grammar.

>

> Converting SiSi to use other languages should also be straightforward,

> according to Tom Klapiscak, another student who had technical input into the

> project.

>

> "We designed the SiSi architecture in such a way that new translation

> modules can easily be plugged into the system," he said.

>

> "Obviously this would involve the work of creating the translation module

> itself - which is no small task."

>

> Mr Gybels of the RNID says he is "very impressed" with what the students

> were able to achieve in just twelve weeks.

>

> "Creating a system that can actually bridge the gap between hearing people

> who speak English and deaf people who use BSL is very important."

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> Via BBC:

> http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/6993326.stm

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>



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