Thursday, February 28, 2013

Automatic translation of text to sign

Mohamed Jemni spoke at the TED conference today about his efforts to educate the deaf in developing countries. Jemni's lab at the University of Tunis in Tunisia is building e-learning environments for students with tools like the app MMS Sign, which makes mobile phones accessible for deaf people, and the new WebSign, which unlocks web data using an avatar who speaks sign language. His lab won the UNESCO Prize in 2008 for their e-learning curriculum for visually impaired and the World Summit Award (WSA) Mobile 2010 in the field of social inclusion. He told the TED audience today that “80% of deaf people in the world do not have access to education.” He demonstrated automatic translation of text into sign using a new piece of software. His app, for example, could be used to translate public address announcements into sign. Jemni said he believes “The disability is not the problem, the accessibility is the problem.” TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design. It's yearly meetings have blossomed into major events and many offshoots. Here's a video of Jemni appearing at the TED event in Tunis last summer.


woofer95828 said...

I am puzzled; the video was very short and was not cc and yet it was supposedly to be about new cc technology.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it ironic that a talk about a product for Sign Language people wasn't accessible via subtitles? Laudable as the aims of the project are, they fail to acknowledge that Sign isn't just about signs; it's about using the whole upper body, facial expressions, posture. And what about the fact that Sign languages have different grammars from the local written languages. Stop spending money on pointless research like this, which benefits the researchers and does nothing for Sign Language peoples. Spend the money instead in decent early language intervention and education with young children, using Sign as part of the language mix, together with appropriate amplification.