Welcome to a new member from Morocco! - My advice on current translation for ASL and English

Charles Butler chazzer3332000 at YAHOO.COM
Sat Dec 4 12:23:37 UTC 2010

Okay, the only current way to type in ASL and convert to English is to work with 
a very limited vocabulary set (the current ASL-English glosses in the 
signwriting dictionary).  One could, conceivably, set up a program to take an 
English gloss sentence and translate that into English and ASL. That is the only 
way that the current Translator program in the SignPuddle can work that way. One 
would have to program a very large phrase set (ME SHOP PAST QUESTION YOU) as 
both "I went shopping yesterday, did you?" and the five ASL signs related to it 
from the ASL SignPuddle.  It is not instantaneous, but it is possible. 

This kind of experimentation is working in Brazil for quadraplegic deaf (those 
who have lost the use of their hands), using a light pencil strapped onto their 
foreheads, onto a Brazilian Sign Language display screen so that they can use a 
common display set of Brazilian signs to be able to be either simply printed as 
Brazilian sign or translated phrase by phrase with a vocoder into spoken 
Portuguese.  It is in the experimental stages now, but can be done.

Machine translation always requires human intervention to ensure that the 
translation is actual human language and not approximation. The various 
English-French auto translators are a good first guess, but they aren't true 
translations. English to Portuguese is the same way.  Translating a Portuguese 
sentence about Brazilian sign language requires one knowing that LIBRAS is the 
name of the language, but that libras (lower case) is the Portuguese word for 
"books". A machine translation doesn't make a difference between ALL CAPS and 
lower case so you'd get "Esses libras se escrivam na LIBRAS" would be translated 
as "These books are written in books" rather than "these books are written in 
Brazilian Sign Language".  

From: Meryeme Ayache <meryemeayache at GMAIL.COM>
Sent: Fri, December 3, 2010 6:43:38 PM
Subject: Re: Welcome to a new member from Morocco!

thank you valerie I got your message now and sorry to cause you trouble :) and 
for shane yes that will be a great idea to meet and talk about signwriting 

here is the messege that I wanted to send to the mailing list before I got the 
comfirmation :

hey everybody,
well I will present myself first I am Meryeme AYACHE a  student in ENSIAS (it is 
a school of computer engineering in Morocco) I  am in my second year. my 
nationality is Moroccan :). well during this  year we have to realize a 
compiler. and I choose to work on "a compiler  of ASL (american signed language) 
to English). so I have to verify many  norms and steps to get this project done:

1.  get the syntax of this language I mean ASL. and  then work on its grammar 
that will be introduced in my compiler. (it  don't have many ambiguities). I 
found out that the FSL (French signed  language) does have its own syntax that 
is shown in the document  attached (place , object, agent, action) and I 
am wondering if the ASL  does have the same syntax and if it is limited or not.

2. have a full treatment of the tokens (and I mean  with the tokens those signs 
used in the American Sign Language); I have  to think about how to insert those 
signs from the keyboard. I had some  suggestions saying that I can drag and drop 
them and put them in the  sentence but the problem is that we are going to 
eliminate the  lexical analyzer that has to refuse all the symbols or characters 
that  do not belong to ASL: so that will not make a good compiler or a full  one 
....sad face.... however I thought about just using the font of  those signs but 
the problem of the font that it gives you only letters  in the ASL and we have 
to have more signs to have a full sentence  because as you know in the ASL we do 
have gestures and movement signed.  so here is my first obstacle.

3.when I was thinking about the syntactical analyzer  I was thinking if there 
are some ambiguities. I want to say if there is  same symbol that stands for two 
words (like in english we have one word  that can be used in different contexts 
or may be two synonyms that mean  the same thing. so this will cause us some 
fuzziness in the language  though. 

4. and for the dictionary: I got the chance to go on the 
website http://www.movementwriting.org/symbolbank/ but  this dictionary is 
really missed us and you not organized so I will try  to work on this too to 
have a better dictionary for my compiler

     so here is the main problems that I found  during my researches, can any 
one help me in the project and here is a  specific document that explain pretty 
much what I want to do exactly.  well my project is due the next month I mean 
due jannuary 2011 but I can  continue in the project if it is not done since I 
consider it as a  personal project as well.
thank you for your help and I really hope that we can work on this  project 
because it can facilitate the communication between normal  people and deaf 
people as well. because if we can realize this project  we can use it in ichat 
for example. I mean the deaf person can type in  ASL and the compiler will turn 
it to English and we can send it to a  normal person. so any suggestions are 
welcomed :)   


Meryeme Ayache.
Elève ingénieur ( 2ème année )
Ecole Nationale Supérieure d'Informatique et d'Analyse des Systèmes (Rabat).
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