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New Software Translates Text Into Animated Sign Language
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
October 27, 2005

NORWICH, ENGLAND--New software is allowing deaf people to access information through animated computer-generated characters that use sign language, the Guardian reported Wednesday.

The human-like figures, known as "avatars", translate English text into British sign language.

A pilot project through the Norfolk County Council is equipping computer screens at its Norwich information center with an avatar called "Vanessa". Clerks at the center can respond to questions that deaf users have about services by choosing one of 200 pre-recorded replies that "Vanessa" then signs to them on the screen.

If the trial period goes well, the council plans to install the software at six other information centers, local schools, libraries and offices where the public interacts with council staff.

Eight research organizations across Europe are working to improve the signing software and other similar technologies, the Guardian noted.

"Translation software's a sign of the future" (The Guardian),,1600149,00.html


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