, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 107-125
Date: 11 Sep 2012

Automatic generation of Brazilian sign language windows for digital TV systems

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Deaf people have serious difficulties accessing information. The support for sign language (their primary means of communication) is rarely addressed in information and communication technologies. Furthermore, there is a lack of works related to machine translation for sign language in real-time and open-domain scenarios, such as TV. To minimize these problems, in this paper, we propose an architecture for machine translation to Brazilian sign language (LIBRAS) and its integration, implementation and evaluation for digital TV systems, a real-time and open-domain scenario. The system, called LibrasTV, allows the LIBRAS windows to be generated and displayed automatically from a closed caption input stream in Brazilian Portuguese. LibrasTV also uses some strategies, such as low time consuming, text-to-gloss machine translation and LIBRAS dictionaries to minimize the computational resources needed to generate the LIBRAS windows in real-time. As a case study, we implemented a prototype of LibrasTV for the Brazilian digital TV system and performed some tests with Brazilian deaf users to evaluate it. Our preliminary evaluation indicated that the proposal is efficient, as long as its delays and bandwidth are low. In addition, as previously mentioned in the literature, avatar-based approaches are not the first choice for the majority of deaf users, who prefer human translation. However, when human interpreters are not available, our proposal is presented as a practical and feasible alternative to fill this gap.