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From:  Valerie Sutton
Date:  Sat Nov 28, 1998  5:30 pm
Subject:  Re: Automatic translation

On Fri, 27 Nov 1998, Carlos wrote:
>Hi to every body in this list (I'm new at it).
>My name is Carlos and I'm working in a R&D group in Colombia, where we
>are planing to make an automatic machine (computer) translator from
>Spoken Spanish into Colombian Sign Language (LSC for short). At this
>momoent we are award of the lots of difficulties this project has to
>pass throw and one of those is the final representation of the LSC.
>As I've seen SignWriting is an option for the output of LSC, as well as
>digitalized video and rendered animations are.
>Other problems we are fasing are the translation itself, and the speech
>recognizion. This is an ambitious project and I would like to know if
>anybody knows on any think that could help us into this research we
>would thank you.
>-- Carlos Th

November 28, 1998
Hello Carlos, and welcome to the SignWriting List! Your project sounds very
interesting and valuable :-)

In regards to the SignWriting part of the project..

I will be happy to create a new Colombian Sign Language version of the
SignWriter Computer Program for your project. If you would like this, then
here is what we need to do...

First, you will need to own the complete SignWriter Computer Program
Package, which includes 14 signed languages and 8 spoken languages. One of
the spoken languages is Spanish, so this will be helpful to you. It is
important that you use the complete computer program, rather than the
shareware. As you know, the shareware, which can be downloaded from our web
site, is limited, because it is only for writing American Sign Language

Second, thank you for sending me pictures of the Colombian Fingerspelling
handshapes! I can create the Colombian Sign Language Fingerspelling
keyboard for you, once you have the complete program. I cannot do it based
on the shareware, unfortunately, because our typing system for English in
the USA and Canada is not the same as the typing system for Spanish in
Colombia...and the fingerspelling symbols have to be placed in the proper
place on the keyboard to make it useful for people in Colombia. This sure
gets complicated, but it can definitely be done, and I am happy to do it :-)

Third, I noticed that there is a handshape used in Colombian
fingerspelling, that is not available in the SignWriter 4.3 symbol set
right now. The SignWriting system itself can record ALL handshapes, when we
write by hand! But because the handshape is not used in the other 14 signed
languages we now support, the symbol is not available for typing. So that
new handshape has to be added to the existing symbol set in SignWriter 4.3
- so that is another job I will have to do for you. When we are all done,
you will have a Colombian Sign Language version of the SignWriter Computer
Program, our 15th signed language.

In regards to "automatic translation" from spoken Spanish to Colombian Sign
Language, I would suggest that you first build a dictionary of Colombian
signs, written in SignWriting, in the SignWriter Computer Program. You will
be able to add up to 10,000 signs in your dictionary file in the computer.
When you have lots of signs written, then you can start facing the issues
of grammar and syntax in Colombian Sign Language, which I am sure is very
different than the grammar and syntax of spoken Spanish.

But first you need your data base of written signs in the dictionary. This
is clearly a big project that will take several years. Please keep us
informed of your progress, and thanks for writing!

Valerie :-)

Valerie Sutton at the DAC
Deaf Action Committee for SW


Center For Sutton Movement Writing
an educational nonprofit organization
Box 517, La Jolla, CA, 92038-0517, USA

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