ASL Machine Translation by virtual webcam

simi94

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Dear friends,
I‘m a university student from Switzerland working on a solution for translating american sign language during video streams by overlaying subtitles. In order to carry out some research, I would love to hear your opinion about the following questions:

Have you ever imagined how it would be, if there was a sign language to text translation technology allowing you to communicate with hearing individuals via streaming platforms like „Youtube Live“, „Twitch“ or „Zoom“? Would you consider this tool as valuable? If yes, how often and in which occasions (school, worklife, leisure time) would you use it?

I want to thank you for your valuable input and am interested in hearing your opinions. :)
 

simi94

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Thank you very much for your honest response. For me as a hearing person, it's very important that my contribution to the development of inclusive communication technologies helps to improve the lives of deaf and hard of hearing individuals in the first place. I am aware that I can only assess your situation from the perspective of a hearing person. Therefore, I don't want to do anything that doesn't fit your culture or that you don't feel comfortable with. I also don't want to do anything that would affect the beauty and authenticity of your language in a way you can't accept.

I also recognize that much depends on the attitude of hearing people. I once met a deaf man at the train station last year. He wanted to start communicating with me and I got involved with him. At first I thought I he wanted to ask me a question about the train schedule. But then I quickly realized that he just wanted to communicate with me for a while.

On the departure board, he pointed with his hand to the train he was waiting for. Then he pointed his finger at his watch, frowning with a sigh. I saw on the board that it would be a very long time before his train would finally arrive and realized that he was trying to start a conversation with me. He was not using any sign language. Instead he was just gesturing because he knew that I was a hearing person. I got involved in the conversation and also tried to communicate using gestures, since I had little knowledge of any sign language at that point.

From my perspective as a hearing person, I see the following problems: there are not enough opportunities for everyone to learn sign language. In my school, for example, Swiss-German sign language was never covered, which I don't think is right. Even at the University of Zurich, where I study, there are no sign language courses I can take.

From this point of view I also understand your personal rejection towards the technologies I mentioned in the post. From your perspective, would it be more desirable to promote sign language skills throughout society to make everyone's lives more accessible? Or do you have other wishes and expectations from society?

If the trust is there, I would love to read more from you.

PS: Sorry for writing "I would love to hear your opinion". I just made this mistake because, as a hearing person, I often verbalize words in my mind when I'm reading a text. So actually, I wanted to write: "I would love to read about your opinion."
 

authentic

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It is almost impossible for technology to understand the sign language. There are people who invented sign language gloves that translates sign language into voice/captions. They failed!

ASL comes with facial expression, slangs, fast/slow signs, different sign styles, etc. only human eyes would understand that.

It is best for you to learn sign language to communicate with deaf people.
 

BiDeafinition

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While I'm all about the idea of accessibility, Close Captioning and subtitles don't cut it.

I would say it's important to first do research on ASL and sign literature. As a HOH person who signs ASL and speaks, I can say there are a lot of distinct differences between sign and verbal languages, including distinct differences between different sign languages (e.g., ASL, LSQ, BSL, ect.).
A big reason as to why sign language cloves failed- they were just translating SES (Sign Exact English).

Secondly, ASL has no "official" form of text- it is a visual-centric language. Written texts are only associated with verbal languages.
The best way to accurately translate sign language right now is through video-recording a certified interpreter or native signer.
On a positive note, new technology today does offer many potential and innovative ideas (e.g., avatar-based, animation, videographics)—apps like Tive, for instance, have emojis that actually sign (showing signs, hand movements, and facial expressions).

Thirdly, Deaf cultural competency and sign language go hand in hand.
Not everything in sign language can be translated because of cultural terminology and references distinct to Deaf culture, such as certain slangs and expressions, and vice versa for English expressions.
So it's important to be familiar to the culture to understand certain signs.
 

Jane B.

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It is almost impossible for technology to understand the sign language. There are people who invented sign language gloves that translates sign language into voice/captions. They failed!

ASL comes with facial expression, slangs, fast/slow signs, different sign styles, etc. only human eyes would understand that.

It is best for you to learn sign language to communicate with deaf people.

There is a difference between BEST and how to handle a situation where the deaf and hearing do not know each others language well but need to communicate in the meantime? How do you suggest doing it?
 

BiDeafinition

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Dear friends,
I‘m a university student from Switzerland working on a solution for translating american sign language during video streams by overlaying subtitles. In order to carry out some research, I would love to hear your opinion about the following questions:

Have you ever imagined how it would be, if there was a sign language to text translation technology allowing you to communicate with hearing individuals via streaming platforms like „Youtube Live“, „Twitch“ or „Zoom“? Would you consider this tool as valuable? If yes, how often and in which occasions (school, worklife, leisure time) would you use it?

I want to thank you for your valuable input and am interested in hearing your opinions. :)
The one thing I would also keep in mind is the fact that Deaf people have to accommodate and communicate on hearing people's terms on a daily basis. So technology that allows hearing people to communicate with Deaf people, or that allows both parties to meet halfway, is a step toward true accessibility and inclusivity, rather than just focusing on accommodation.
 

authentic

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Old Analog

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Won't work, another reason signs are not words, my favorite example is sign for important, valuable, worthy, treasure and on and on, all in one sign, how would you know which word to use :dunno2:
 
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