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Sign Language on the Web

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Sign Language is the first language of many deaf and profoundly hard of hearing people. This topic proposes to discuss concepts, methods, guidelines, recommendations and tools how to best integrate sign language on the web for a) accessible information provision and b) accessible and better usable interaction and communication with web based systems or other people using web based communication tools.


Page author(s): Klaus Miesenberger


Accessibility, deafness, hearing impairment, sign language

Background and Description

A high percentage of deaf and profoundly hard of hearing people use Sign Language as their first and preferred language for accessing information and communication. Although they might have basic, advanced or excellent skills in using a spoken language and/or might find support in Easy to Read language use, they demand for use of sign language as everybody else asks for support of their mother tongue. Accessibility and anti-discrimination legislation respects this by e.g. granting sign language the rights of acknowledged minority languages. In general the equal rights and (e)Accessibility movement has led to R&D activities to further develop sign language use in terms of grammar and vocabulary, working on tools for telecommunication or web based sign language communication and interaction, animated sign language and sign language recognition.

This topic invites end users, organisations, researchers and developers to share, present and discuss approaches, examples, experiences, problems and challenges with the integration of Sign Language on the web.

Discussion and Objectives

Access to information, today to the web, and inclusion/participation for many deaf and hard of hearing people can be significantly improved if information is provided in sign language. Topics should be related but are not limited to

  1. guidelines and recommendations
    • When and for what content types Sign Language alternatives should be provided
    • How to best integrate Sign Language videos or animations on the web (e.g. pop-up window, reserve video space, mouse over)
    • Which Sign Language to use for different kinds of web pages e.g.
      • International, American or other national Sign Languages or further regional languages or dialects)
      • Primary or Auxiliary (accompanying spoken words) Sign Language
    • Specific domains for Sign Language integration, e.g. eLearning, eGovernment
  2. Techniques and tools to
    • Produce Sign Language videos or animations (e.g. authoring tools, dictionaries, collections, services for Sign Language production)
    • Present and integrate Sign Language videos or animations
  3. Integration of systems and services for communication and meetings in Sign Language
    • Web based Multimedia and Sign Language including communication services
    • Relay/remote Sign Language Translation/Animation services (posterior or live)
    • Video chat services
  4. Challenging R&D questions and their impact on Sign Language use on the web like
    • Sign Language Recognition
    • Supported or automated translation from/to Sign Language
    • Supported or automated Sign Language animation (use of avatars)


[References to related works and activities]

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