Universal Access in the Information Society

, Volume 11, Issue 2, pp 169–184 | Cite as

Effect of spatial reference and verb inflection on the usability of sign language animations

Long Paper

Abstract

Computer-generated animations of American Sign Language (ASL) can improve the accessibility of information, communication, and services for the significant number of deaf adults in the US with difficulty in reading English text. Unfortunately, there are several linguistic aspects of ASL that current automatic generation or translation systems cannot produce (or are time-consuming for human animators to create). To determine how important such phenomena are to user satisfaction and the comprehension of ASL animations, studies were conducted in which native ASL signers evaluated ASL animations with and without: establishment of spatial reference points around the virtual human signer representing entities under discussion, pointing pronoun signs, contrastive role shift, and spatial inflection of ASL verbs. It was found that adding these phenomena to ASL animations led to a significant improvement in user comprehension of the animations, thereby motivating future research on automating the generation of these animations.

Keywords

American sign language Animation Evaluation Sign language Spatial reference Verb inflection Accessibility technology for people who are deaf 

Abbreviations

ASL

American sign language

HCI

Human-computer interaction

MT

Machine translation

BSL

British sign language

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Computer Science, Queens CollegeThe City University of New YorkFlushingUSA
  2. 2.Department of Computer Science, Graduate CenterThe City University of New YorkNew YorkUSA

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