Sign Language Synthesis

I collaborate with an international team to develop software that translates spoken English into animations of American Sign Language (ASL), the language of the Deaf in North America. This undertaking is both broad and challenging, as ASL is different from English, with its own unique grammar. It is at least as different from English as any other spoken language. Additionally, the depiction of ASL is visual/gestural as opposed to the aural/written modality of spoken languages.

These challenges present the opportunity to explore varied approaches to both software engineering and usability testing. The software is complex, combining an intricate animation system, language representation, and a unique user interface. Further, it requires an implementation that draws from the diverse fields of computer graphics, linguistics, natural language processing, and human-computer interaction, necessitating multi-disciplinary collaborations. I find the nature of this research to be both challenging and exciting. It has afforded me opportunities to collaborate with researchers from all over the world. I find collaborations to be rewarding and enlightening. I enjoy learning and sharing knowledge and confronting uncommon demands that require unique approaches.

Read about our work on nonmanual signals in ASL.