forum SignWriting List Forum
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From:  Carlos Thompson
Date:  Mon Nov 30, 1998  5:19 pm
Subject:  Colombian fingerspelling (was Re: Automatic translation)

Valerie Sutton wrote:

> 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 :-)

In Colombia there are three keyboards layouts in common use: US (International),
Spanish and LatinAmerican. At this momment I couldn't tell you which one is
more common.

> 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.

A colegue of mine and her husband have been working with the shareware version
fo the program, defining a series of handshapes and trying to define a lexicon.
I would mail the developers with the results but there has been some problems
defining the lexicon/sign database.

-- Carlos Th

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