Can we help get SW5 launches

Stuart Thiessen smt_sw at HOTMAIL.COM
Tue Jun 25 21:42:12 UTC 2002

I think the challenge is more along the lines of expertise in programming
and understanding of sign language issues more than $$  (although that is
certainly in there).  To find that expertise and then be able to pay for
that level of expertise is two separate but important issues.

I am presently at the Summer Institute of Linguistics this summer for their
classes related to sign languages.  There is a possible approach using some
of SIL's linguistic software to do the trick using standard Unicode fonts.
I will be discussing this with them while I am here.  They have a program
called Graphite that will "smart render" characters to the screen.
Presently, this renderer is only available to use with their software, but
they are looking at ways to make it usable for other software.  Certainly,
for linguists, the benefit of having the font tied to existing linguistic
research software would be beneficial.

If that can work, it might be a simpler way to do things.  This way, we only
need to create the symbols and place them in the appropriate sorted order in
the Unicode encoding, and then place those symbols in a font, and then
create the rules that the Graphite "smart renderer" can use to create the
symbols on the screen, and then create a keyboard for data entry (which
could be the same as SignWriter 4.4 or different).  Then we can use it in
SIL's WorldPad at least.  I know they themselves will want to make their
renderer available for more programs since it isn't just sign languages that
will use it but people working with minority languages around the world.
Several steps involved but it would move SignWriting in the direction of
more mainstream programs rather than being outside of mainstream software

So, we shall see how this develops.  But I thought it was a piece of
optimistic news.  There are no guarantees it will work since SignWriting is
complicated to explain to a computer, but it may be possible.  I believe
this software would be available on the PC and Mac platforms for sure.  I am
uncertain about Linux or Unix systems, but at this point, I assume those are
in the minority.



----- Original Message -----
From: "Ingvild Roald" <ingvild.roald at STATPED.NO>
Sent: Tuesday, June 25, 2002 09:39
Subject: Can we help get SW5 launches

> As the computers are getting more common, and more sofisticated, we get
> into problems while we still do not have a SW version that will run on the
> new computers and systems that the young people know.
> So could we put our heads together, and find ways to rise the money needed
> for SW 5?
> I know I cannot pay for it by myself, any contribution from me personaly
> would have to be small, but maybe we know of different sources in the
> different countries that might together make the neccessary amount?
> Just now, Valerie is busy completing the SignBank, with too little funding
> for that too - so don't let's burden her with this, but if we could
> present her with the funding when she comes out of 'busy hibernation' in
> september, wouldn't that be great?
> Does anyone know how much is needed?
> Ingvild

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