Deep Natural Language Processing for Italian Sign Language Translation

  • Alessandro Mazzei
  • Leonardo Lesmo
  • Cristina Battaglino
  • Mara Vendrame
  • Monica Bucciarelli
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 8249)


This paper presents the architecture of a translator from written Italian into Italian Sign Language. We describe the main features of the four modules of this architecture, i.e. a dependency parser for Italian, an ontology based semantic interpreter, a generator based on expert-systems and combinatory categorial grammars, a planner to position signs in space. The result of this translation chain is signed by a virtual character. Finally, we report the results of a first “intrinsic” experiment for the evaluation of translation quality.


Machine Translation Semantic Network American Sign Statistical Machine Translation Virtual Character 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Bangham, J., Cox, S., Elliott, R., Glauert, J., Marshall, I.: Virtual signing: Capture, animation, storage and transmission – an overview of the VisiCAST project. In: IEE Seminar on Speech and Language (2000)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Zhao, L., Kipper, K., Schuler, W., Vogler, C., Badler, N.I., Palmer, M.: A machine translation system from english to american sign language. In: White, J.S. (ed.) AMTA 2000. LNCS (LNAI), vol. 1934, pp. 54–67. Springer, Heidelberg (2000)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Huenerfauth, M.: Generating American Sign Language classifier predicates for english-to-asl machine translation. PhD thesis, University of Pennsylvania (2006)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Morrissey, S., Way, A., Stein, D., Bungeroth, J., Ney, H.: Combining data-driven mt systems for improved sign language translation. In: Proc. XI Machine Translation Summit (2007)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Su, H., Wu, C.: Improving structural statistical machine translation for sign language with small corpus using thematic role templates as translation memory. IEEE Transactions on Audio, Speech and Language Processing 17(7), 1305–1315 (2009)MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Hutchins, W.J., Somer, H.L.: An Introduction to Machine Translation. Academic Press, London (1992)zbMATHGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Volterra, V. (ed.): La lingua dei segni italiana. Il Mulino (2004)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Tiotto, G., Prinetto, P., Piccolo, E., Bertoldi, N., Nunnari, F., Lombardo, V., Mazzei, A., Lesmo, L., Principe, A.D.: On the creation and the annotation of a large-scale Italian-LIS parallel corpus. In: 4th Workshop on the Representation and Processing of Sign Languages: Corpora and Sign Language Technologies, Valletta, Malta (2010) ISBN 10: 2-9517408-6-7Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Lombardo, V., Battaglino, C., Damiano, R., Nunnari, F.: An avatar-based interface for the italian sign language. In: Proc. of CISIS 2011, pp. 589–594. IEEE Computer Society (2011)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Lesmo, L., Robaldo, L.: From natural language to databases via ontologies. In: Proceedings of LREC 2006, Genoa, Italy. European Language Resources Association, ELRA (2006)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Lesmo, L., Robaldo, L.: Use of Ontologies in Practical NL Query Interpretation. In: Basili, R., Pazienza, M.T. (eds.) AI*IA 2007. LNCS (LNAI), vol. 4733, pp. 182–193. Springer, Heidelberg (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Lesmo, L.: The Rule-Based Parser of the NLP Group of the University of Torino. Intelligenza Artificiale 2, 46–47 (2007)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Bosco, C., Lombardo, V.: Dependency and relational structure in treebank annotation. In: Proc. of the Workshop Recent Advances in Dependency Grammar (2004)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Hudson, R.: Word Grammar. Basil Blackwell, Oxford (1984)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Nirenburg, S., Raskin, V.: Ontological Semantics (Language, Speech, and Communication). The MIT Press (2004)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Gangemi, A., Guarino, N., Masolo, C., Oltramari, A.: Sweetening WORDNET with DOLCE. AI Magazine 24, 13–24 (2003)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Bateman, J.: The place of language within a foundational ontology. In: Press, I. (ed.) Proc. of FOIS 2004 (2004)Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Buitelaar, P., Cimiano, P., Haase, P., Sintek, M.: Towards linguistically grounded ontologies. In: Aroyo, L., et al. (eds.) ESWC 2009. LNCS, vol. 5554, pp. 111–125. Springer, Heidelberg (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Cimiano, P.: Flexible semantic composition with dudes. In: Proc. of IWCS-8 2009, pp. 272–276. Association for Computational Linguistics, Stroudsburg (2009)Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Reiter, E., Dale, R.: Building natural language generation systems. Cambridge University Press, New York (2000)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    White, M.: Efficient realization of coordinate structures in combinatory categorial grammar. Research on Language and Computation 2006, 39–75 (2006)Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Young, D.E.: The Lisa Project (2007),
  23. 23.
    Steedman, M.: The syntactic process. MIT Press, Cambridge (2000)Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Brentani, D. (ed.): Sign Languages. Cambridge University Press (2010)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alessandro Mazzei
    • 1
  • Leonardo Lesmo
    • 1
  • Cristina Battaglino
    • 1
  • Mara Vendrame
    • 2
  • Monica Bucciarelli
    • 2
  1. 1.Dipartimento di InformaticaUniversità degli Studi di TorinoItaly
  2. 2.Dipartimento di PsicologiaUniversità degli Studi di TorinoItaly

Personalised recommendations