Anthony Ventresque


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Improving Signer Independent Sign Language Recognition for Low Resource Languages
Ruth Holmes | Ellen Rushe | Frank Fowley | Anthony Ventresque
Proceedings of the 7th International Workshop on Sign Language Translation and Avatar Technology: The Junction of the Visual and the Textual: Challenges and Perspectives

The reliance of deep learning algorithms on large scale datasets represents a significant challenge when learning from low resource sign language datasets. This challenge is compounded when we consider that, for a model to be effective in the real world, it must not only learn the variations of a given sign, but also learn to be invariant to the person signing. In this paper, we first illustrate the performance gap between signer-independent and signer-dependent models on Irish Sign Language manual hand shape data. We then evaluate the effect of transfer learning, with different levels of fine-tuning, on the generalisation of signer independent models, and show the effects of different input representations, namely variations in image data and pose estimation. We go on to investigate the sensitivity of current pose estimation models in order to establish their limitations and areas in need of improvement. The results show that accurate pose estimation outperforms raw RGB image data, even when relying on pre-trained image models. Following on from this, we investigate image texture as a potential contributing factor to the gap in performance between signer-dependent and signer-independent models using counterfactual testing images and discuss potential ramifications for low-resource sign languages. Keywords: Sign language recognition, Transfer learning, Irish Sign Language, Low-resource languages


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The Influence of Regional Pronunciation Variation on Children’s Spelling and the Potential Benefits of Accent Adapted Spellcheckers
Emma O’Neill | Joe Kenny | Anthony Ventresque | Julie Carson-Berndsen
Proceedings of the 25th Conference on Computational Natural Language Learning

A child who is unfamiliar with the correct spelling of a word often employs a “sound it out” approach: breaking the word down into its constituent sounds and then choosing letters to represent the identified sounds. This often results in a misspelling that is orthographically very different to the intended target. Recently, efforts have been made to develop phonetic based spellcheckers to tackle the more deviant nature of children’s misspellings. However, little work has been done to investigate the potential of spelling correction tools that incorporate regional pronunciation variation. If a child must first identify the sounds that make up a word, it stands to reason their pronunciation would influence this process. We investigate this hypothesis along with the feasibility and potential benefits of adapting spelling correction tools to more specific language variants - particularly Irish Accented English. We use misspelling data from schoolchildren across Ireland to adapt an existing English phonetic-based spellchecker and demonstrate improvements in performance. These results not only prompt consideration of language varieties in the development of spellcheckers but also contribute to existing literature on the role of regional accent in the acquisition of writing proficiency.