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Deaf folks use sign language. The most commonly used has a sign per word or concept, sort of like Chinese. Just as computers can translate a given sequence of text from english to spanish, it should be possible to translate text to sign language.
I propose that a program that assembles a sequence
of short video snips could serve as a translator. I thought that something like this might exist but on searching I found this animated thing which seems much fussier than snips of live video of a real translator. Also anyone who has watched live sign language translation will be impressed that signing is a whole body affair, not just puppetlike arm movements as seen with the animation.
The program could help deaf kids learn to read. It could do closed captioning. Also, once the program exists other types of sign language video snips could be inserted. Even better, the availability of this tool in American Sign could help spread this particular language to be adopted by deaf people everywhere.
Animation sign language translator
Not as good. Use real actors! [bungston, Sep 11 2009]
0.72 seconds of video
This could be used to send signs. [bungston, Sep 11 2009]
||Be aware that there's not just "sign language" there's
sign language for different countries, frequently
unrelated to whatever words the spoken languages use.
For example, there's British Sign Language (BSL) and
American Sign Language (ASL) and they are totally
unrelated - the user of one can't generally understand
the other. Similarly, there are other sign languages
around the world that are unique to their own
||// user of one can't generally understand the other //
||<Raises right fist, extends middle finger upwards>
||No, make that two.
and a packet of crisps, please.