Well. Just a week after Mark Nelson wrote about how technological advances and the rise of voice recognition could leave deaf people behind – in his ‘Peak Deaf Access’ theory, this story appears in the Metro.
Apparently, a portable sign language translator app has been invented, that will allow deaf people “to talk to everyone.”
The article says that “sign language can be used in front of a camera built into a laptop, tablet or phone and the app will instantly translate gestures into text on the screen.”
(“Gestures”? Surely they mean “signs.”)
The app will be available in late 2013 and is said to be affordable. The makers claim the app has a customisation tool and can cater for regional variations.
Sounds amazing – I’d love to hear from anyone who has tried this out.
The big question for deaf people will be ‘how well will it actually work?’
Bearing in mind the complexity of sign language, taking in facial expressions, hand movements and body language (for starters), plus the difficulty companies have had in the past of creating equivalent systems, this statement from the article: “It will work on all types of phones – no matter how cheap they are, as long as they have a camera” doesn’t fill me with confidence.
But I’m ready to be proved wrong.
Update: this BBC news article offers further background on the development of the App
By Charlie Swinbourne, Editor
The Limping Chicken is the UK’s deaf blogs and news website, and is the world’s most popular deaf blog. It is edited by Deaf journalist and filmmaker Charlie Swinbourne.
Please note that the views of the writers are their own, and not necessarily the views of the Editor or site as a whole. Read our disclaimer here.
- Phonak: innovative technology and products in hearing acoustics
- Ai-Media: Remote captioning. Check out these captioning fails!
- Bellman & Symfon: home alerting solutions
- Deaf Umbrella: sign language interpreting and communications support
- Clarion: BSL/English interpreting and employment services
- Appa: Communication services for Deaf, Deafblind and hard of hearing people
- Signature: Find out about the Signature conference here.
- SignVideo: Instant BSL video interpreting online
- 121 Captions: captioning and speech-to-text services
- Hearing Direct: Online hearing aids
- The National Theatre: Captioned and BSL accessible theatre in London
- Doncaster School for the Deaf: education for Deaf children
- SignLive: Online video interpreting for Deaf people
- RAD Tax Advice: Tax and Tax Credit info for Deaf people
- Deaf Independent: Deaf care and support services
- Signworld: online BSL learning and teaching materials
- Performance Interpreting: BSL interpreting at concerts
- National Deaf Children's Society: The leading charity for deaf children
- DCAL: Find out how to study at the Deafness Cognition and Language Research Centre, London
- cSeeker: Deaf-led educational communication support service
- Signed Culture: Advocating for BSL access to arts and culture
- Sarah Gatford: BSL interpreting, training and consultancy
- SignHealth: healthcare charity for Deaf people
- CJ Interpreting: communication support in BSL
- Sign Solutions:, language and learning
- Action Deafness Communications: sign language and Red Dot online video interpreting
- BSLcourses.co.uk: Provider of online BSL courses
- British Society for Mental Health and Deafness: Promoting positive mental health for deaf people
- deafPLUS: Money advice line in BSL
- Happy: Microsoft Office courses taught in BSL and SSE by a Deaf trainer – all abilities catered for
- Hamilton Lodge School in Brighton: education for Deaf children
- Lipspeaker UK: specialist lipspeaking support
- Ozen: Australian hearing aid specialists
- Elmfield School, Bristol: Inclusive education for Deaf pupils
- Exeter Deaf Academy: education for Deaf children