Sign language 'turned into text' by Aberdeen scientists

Sign language It is hoped the new technology could transform how sign language users communicate

Technology aimed at translating sign language into text is being developed by Aberdeen scientists.

The portable sign language translator (PSLT) would use the camera on devices such as laptops and phones.

An app would then translate the movements into text which can be read by people, who may not understand sign language.

Computing scientists at Technabling, a spin-out company of the University of Aberdeen, are behind the technology.

Start Quote

Dr Ernesto Compatangelo

Their signs are immediately translated into text which can be read by the person they are conversing with”

End Quote Dr Ernesto Compatangelo University of Aberdeen

It is hoped this could transform how sign language users - from the profoundly deaf to those who have lost hearing in later life - communicate.

One of the main focuses is to help young deaf people improve employment opportunities.

Dr Ernesto Compatangelo, a lecturer in computing science at the University of Aberdeen, and founder of Technabling, said: "The aim of the technology is to empower sign language users by enabling them to overcome the communication challenges they can experience, through portable technology.

"Their signs are immediately translated into text which can be read by the person they are conversing with.

"The intent is to develop an application - an app in smart phone terms - that is easily accessible and could be used on different devices."

He added: "One of the most innovative and exciting aspects of the technology is that it allows sign language users to actually develop their own signs for concepts and terms they need to have in their vocabulary."

Sign language users have helped the development and testing of the product since its conception.

Local sign language users interested in becoming involved with the ongoing development can get in touch via pslt@technabling.co.uk

It is hoped the technology could be available as a product by 2013.

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