Gokul Nc


2022

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OpenHands: Making Sign Language Recognition Accessible with Pose-based Pretrained Models across Languages
Prem Selvaraj | Gokul Nc | Pratyush Kumar | Mitesh Khapra
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

AI technologies for Natural Languages have made tremendous progress recently. However, commensurate progress has not been made on Sign Languages, in particular, in recognizing signs as individual words or as complete sentences. We introduce OpenHands, a library where we take four key ideas from the NLP community for low-resource languages and apply them to sign languages for word-level recognition. First, we propose using pose extracted through pretrained models as the standard modality of data in this work to reduce training time and enable efficient inference, and we release standardized pose datasets for different existing sign language datasets. Second, we train and release checkpoints of 4 pose-based isolated sign language recognition models across 6 languages (American, Argentinian, Chinese, Greek, Indian, and Turkish), providing baselines and ready checkpoints for deployment. Third, to address the lack of labelled data, we propose self-supervised pretraining on unlabelled data. We curate and release the largest pose-based pretraining dataset on Indian Sign Language (Indian-SL). Fourth, we compare different pretraining strategies and for the first time establish that pretraining is effective for sign language recognition by demonstrating (a) improved fine-tuning performance especially in low-resource settings, and (b) high crosslingual transfer from Indian-SL to few other sign languages. We open-source all models and datasets in OpenHands with a hope that it makes research in sign languages reproducible and more accessible.