AW: [sw-l] transcribing from video

Stefan Wöhrmann stefanwoehrmann at GEBAERDENSCHRIFT.DE
Mon Jan 1 23:29:45 UTC 2007

Happy new year to all of you – 


Hi Kim, Valerie and friends ...


reading your message I can understand completely. I can feel with you and I
know pretty much about your feelings. 


Well from my point of view it should be of advantage to clarify your goal –
detailed writing  versus writing a SW-document that allows to undestand a
SignLanguage message - 


Years ago I had been lucky to participate in a small teaching-course about a
transcribing a video ( a Japanese Bible – project) 


I only can recommend to become a SW.Org member in order to get this
wonderful support Valerie offered in one of her last messages - ;-) 


I took sooooo much advantage out of this course – thanks again Valerie. It
has been so much fun and so much work. We discussed everything in detail and
it has been a precious experience that it takes time to transcribe a single
sign/gesture  with all its aspects  -  plus – it makes a difference to know
and to understand what the signer is talking about. – and there is almost
always another spelling - option ;-))  a better one and besides that
Valeries best ! – smile 

And it makes a difference just to try to follow the sequence of signs or
really to write exactly any individual nuance that can be found in the video
(including head and body movements, eyegaze, movements of the passive hand
..orientation..Mundbilder (ha – smile)   ) – and which leads to the
consequence that the same signer performs one and the same sign in several
variations!! Often he or she wouldnot believe himself/herself. 


In your case – I hate to transcribe any video if it is not possible to look
at it frame by frame – and at normal speed again. So I would recommend to
record your video with your computer in order to get a different source. I
cannot believe that I did the same as you do – working with a video –
recorder - when I started years ago  Now – with computer-videos it is much
easier to press the Stop – button – and to repeat any given sequence again
and again ...


In the beginning I made lots and lots of “stills” of these videos – just in
order to get an idea where to start a new sign ... 


And then – what is your goal – if it is just to write down the sequence of
well-known signs – you should not worry too much about detailed writing. –
You could write down the signorder and can take these signs one by one from
your dictionary ... 

Nevertheless – it is fun to ask people to repeat any given SignLanguage
performance without looking at a written document. They will not know about
all the aspects you will want to document if you transcribe this performance
with SW. It takes me several times to go back and forth to the video and to
my SW-Programm. So I prefer to work on two different computers if I do that.


And yes – though I have transcribed lots of video-sequences I have to admit
that it is a very time-consuming procedure. My goal is most often to learn
from the signer to understand his way of signing – kind of personal style.
This is not just picking given signs from a dictionary. While transcribing
from video I almosst never work with a dictionary but write the document
sign by sign from scratch. There is an advantage aside – smile – you will
become faster and much more competent to use the software which you need to
write the document. 


Lately I try to speed up a little with a different technique. So I try to do
my first draft in handwriting and afterwards I write it with the good old
SW44 – pretty fast by the way – smile! 


And Valerie – yes I am looking forward to participate in your teaching
projects – L.I.F.E.  – a warm hello to Tini ;-)



Stefan ;-)) 





Von: owner-sw-l at
[mailto:owner-sw-l at] Im Auftrag von Kimberley Shaw
Gesendet: Montag, 1. Januar 2007 06:54
An: sw-l at
Betreff: [sw-l] transcribing from video


Hello all:
and a very happy New Year to you all!
Val, I only get more and more impressed by the day by the things you have
done! I have been trying to transcribe a poem of Ella Mae Lentz ("Travels
with Malz"), and it has become an exercise in frustration.As an ASL student
who has just been placed into a 2nd-year ASL class at a univiersity level, I
am trying to figure out why it is being so diffficult to simply write down
sentence by sentence from the VHS (no, the video her poem is on has never
been released to DVD, alas), and I am wondering how on earth you were able
to transcribe from video when you were not yet a signer.
Was it the dance training?
Have all of you other signwriters got some special wisdom to share with me?
Or just useful tips?
You don't even want to know how many times I have had to hit "pause" and
"rewind" just to get the first sentence down on paper.
All the best,
Kim from Boston

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