Mirella De Sisto


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Challenges with Sign Language Datasets for Sign Language Recognition and Translation
Mirella De Sisto | Vincent Vandeghinste | Santiago Egea Gómez | Mathieu De Coster | Dimitar Shterionov | Horacio Saggion
Proceedings of the Thirteenth Language Resources and Evaluation Conference

Sign Languages (SLs) are the primary means of communication for at least half a million people in Europe alone. However, the development of SL recognition and translation tools is slowed down by a series of obstacles concerning resource scarcity and standardization issues in the available data. The former challenge relates to the volume of data available for machine learning as well as the time required to collect and process new data. The latter obstacle is linked to the variety of the data, i.e., annotation formats are not unified and vary amongst different resources. The available data formats are often not suitable for machine learning, obstructing the provision of automatic tools based on neural models. In the present paper, we give an overview of these challenges by comparing various SL corpora and SL machine learning datasets. Furthermore, we propose a framework to address the lack of standardization at format level, unify the available resources and facilitate SL research for different languages. Our framework takes ELAN files as inputs and returns textual and visual data ready to train SL recognition and translation models. We present a proof of concept, training neural translation models on the data produced by the proposed framework.

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Sign Language Translation: Ongoing Development, Challenges and Innovations in the SignON Project
Dimitar Shterionov | Mirella De Sisto | Vincent Vandeghinste | Aoife Brady | Mathieu De Coster | Lorraine Leeson | Josep Blat | Frankie Picron | Marcello Paolo Scipioni | Aditya Parikh | Louis ten Bosh | John O’Flaherty | Joni Dambre | Jorn Rijckaert
Proceedings of the 23rd Annual Conference of the European Association for Machine Translation

The SignON project (www.signon-project.eu) focuses on the research and development of a Sign Language (SL) translation mobile application and an open communications framework. SignON rectifies the lack of technology and services for the automatic translation between signed and spoken languages, through an inclusive, humancentric solution which facilitates communication between deaf, hard of hearing (DHH) and hearing individuals. We present an overview of the current status of the project, describing the milestones reached to date and the approaches that are being developed to address the challenges and peculiarities of Sign Language Machine Translation (SLMT).


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Defining meaningful units. Challenges in sign segmentation and segment-meaning mapping (short paper)
Mirella De Sisto | Dimitar Shterionov | Irene Murtagh | Myriam Vermeerbergen | Lorraine Leeson
Proceedings of the 1st International Workshop on Automatic Translation for Signed and Spoken Languages (AT4SSL)

This paper addresses the tasks of sign segmentation and segment-meaning mapping in the context of sign language (SL) recognition. It aims to give an overview of the linguistic properties of SL, such as coarticulation and simultaneity, which make these tasks complex. A better understanding of SL structure is the necessary ground for the design and development of SL recognition and segmentation methodologies, which are fundamental for machine translation of these languages. Based on this preliminary exploration, a proposal for mapping segments to meaning in the form of an agglomerate of lexical and non-lexical information is introduced.