machine translation and SignWriting

MARIA GALEA maria.azzopardi at UM.EDU.MT
Fri Mar 9 17:07:16 UTC 2012

Thank you so much Steve,
This is very interesting! If I write something small about this, I will
give reference to you.

> Hi Maria,
> Their object to SignWriting seems to be that people 1) computers can't
> animate it and 2) most people don't read it.
>     /In terms of its suitability as a candidate for use in an [Example
>     Base Machine Translation] system, SignWriting lacks the explicit
>     linguistic detail necessary for the generation of signs using an
>     avatar. /
> This is false.  You can check out the VSign project from 2004:
> The 2-dimensional nature of SignWriting is easy for a human to
> understand, but difficult for a computer.  It is possible to animate
> simple sign using only the 2-dimensional layout of symbols.  For more
> complicated signs, it is possible to utilized the SignSpelling Sequence
> to order the action, position the symbols, and add extra information
> when needed.
>     /Annotated corpora on the other hand have the potential to carry
>     varying degrees of granularity of linguistic detail, therefore
>     bypassing the need to translate using SignWriting and then deriving
>     such details from the resulting SignWriting symbol.
>     /
> I'm not sure why they see SignWriting as an intermediate step.  The
> paper clearly states that documentation should be provided in a person's
> native language so that they can read it in their native language.
> Watching a video is not reading.  Handing out a piece of paper is not
> the same as requiring a computer terminal.
>     /Another issue with SignWriting is that the majority of signers are
>     unfamiliar with it which lowers its appeal for use as final output
>     translation./
> This may support the idea of including the animation in the beginning,
> but it does not negate the need for written material for people to read.
> Regards,
> -Steve

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