Sign languages are natural languages with the same linguistic properties as spoken languages. Just as spoken languages, they evolve and vary between countries and regions. There is not one universal sign language in the world; in fact, some countries have more than one sign language (e.g., Switzerland).
EASIER’s goal is therefore to create a framework for barrier-free communication among deaf and hearing citizens across the European Union. This will be achieved by enabling users of sign languages to use their preferred language to interact with hearing individuals, and vice-versa – users of different spoken languages will be able to use their preferred language to communicate with deaf individuals.
The objectives of the project are defined around three main pillars:
- Exploitation of a robust data-driven sign language recognition engine.
- Utilization of a signing avatar engine that produces easy-to-understand signing and integrates information on affective expressions and coherent prosody.
- Incorporation of machine translation technology capable of dealing with a wide range of languages and communication scenarios (far beyond the restricted weather report and post office use cases demonstrated to date).