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, Volume 11, Issue 2, pp 151–168 | Cite as

Hybrid paradigm for Spanish Sign Language synthesis

  • Fernando López-Colino
  • José Colás
Long paper


This work presents a hybrid approach to sign language synthesis. This approach allows the hand-tuning of the phonetic description of the signs, which focuses on the time aspect of the sign. Therefore, the approach retains the capacity for the performing of morpho-phonological operations, like notation-based approaches, and improves the synthetic signing performance, such as the hand-tuned animations approach. The proposed approach simplifies the input message description using a new high-level notation and storage of sign phonetic descriptions in a relational database. Such relational database allows for more flexible sign phonetic descriptions; it also allows for a description of sign timing and the synchronization between sign phonemes. The new notation, named HLSML, is a gloss-based notation focusing on message description in it. HLSML introduces several tags that allow for the modification of the signs in the message that defines dialect and mood variations, both of which are defined in the relational database, and message timing, including transition durations and pauses. A new avatar design is also proposed that simplifies the development of the synthesizer and avoids any interference with the independence of the sign language phonemes during animation. The obtained results showed an increase of the sign recognition rate compared to other approaches. This improvement was based on the active role that the sign language experts had in the description of signs, which was the result of the flexibility of the sign storage approach. The approach will simplify the description of synthesizable signed messages, thus facilitating the creation of multimedia-signed contents.


Spanish Sign Language Sign language synthesis Graphical user interfaces Human computer interaction 



The authors would like to acknowledge the teachers of the SIGNAR academy for their participation in the evaluations and to the FPU program of the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid for its financial support. The authors are grateful to the journal’s editor and the reviewers for their comments and suggestions, which have improved this paper and proposed interesting future research directions.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Human Computer Technology LaboratoryUniversidad Autónoma de MadridCantoblancoSpain

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