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Building a Swiss German Sign Language avatar with JASigning and evaluating it among the Deaf community


Ebling, Sarah; Glauert, John (2016). Building a Swiss German Sign Language avatar with JASigning and evaluating it among the Deaf community. Universal Access in the Information Society, 15(4):577-587.

Abstract

This paper reports on the development of a system that translates German train announcements of the Swiss Federal Railways (Schweizerische Bundesbahnen, SBB) into Swiss German Sign Language (Deutschschweizerische Gebärdensprache, DSGS) in real time and displays the result via an avatar. The system used to animate the avatar is called JASigning. Deliverables of the projects during which JASigning was developed are the main source of documentation for the system along with notes on the Web site. Not all planned features have been fully implemented: some because they are used very infrequently; others because there is insufficient linguistic research on which to base an implementation. The team of hearing and Deaf researchers identified the avatar functionality needed for the project and built a first version of the avatar. A focus group study with seven Deaf signers was then carried out to obtain feedback on how to further improve the avatar. This paper reports the evaluation results. It also discusses the workarounds introduced for features that were not yet directly available in the JASigning system. These features were not specific to train announcements. Hence, knowledge of how to achieve their designated effects in JASigning can be useful to persons working with other types of sign language data as well.

Abstract

This paper reports on the development of a system that translates German train announcements of the Swiss Federal Railways (Schweizerische Bundesbahnen, SBB) into Swiss German Sign Language (Deutschschweizerische Gebärdensprache, DSGS) in real time and displays the result via an avatar. The system used to animate the avatar is called JASigning. Deliverables of the projects during which JASigning was developed are the main source of documentation for the system along with notes on the Web site. Not all planned features have been fully implemented: some because they are used very infrequently; others because there is insufficient linguistic research on which to base an implementation. The team of hearing and Deaf researchers identified the avatar functionality needed for the project and built a first version of the avatar. A focus group study with seven Deaf signers was then carried out to obtain feedback on how to further improve the avatar. This paper reports the evaluation results. It also discusses the workarounds introduced for features that were not yet directly available in the JASigning system. These features were not specific to train announcements. Hence, knowledge of how to achieve their designated effects in JASigning can be useful to persons working with other types of sign language data as well.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Computational Linguistics
Dewey Decimal Classification:000 Computer science, knowledge & systems
410 Linguistics
Language:English
Date:2016
Deposited On:20 May 2015 15:13
Last Modified:16 Oct 2016 01:00
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:1615-5289
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s10209-015-0408-1

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