SignWriting List
October 1, 2012

Hello Charles!
There are some programs that are similar to what you describe below…For example, there was a program developed in its infant stages using a glove that wrote SignWriting in a computer when the glove moved…That was in the UK…and even though that is not video, it still had an element of "writing automatically in SignWriting"

Then there is a program right now from Brazil that writes Expressive captions on videos - it is like a video editing tool - you add the captions later, after the video was made -

You are right that is not on-the-spot writing of captions - I do not think most people would know how to write Receptively at speed - I can barely read Receptive writing because most of it is not standardized. Expressive writing is becoming more standardized now, just through evolution of use…

So if people really want this, then new software would have to be developed - If funding could be found, then we would be glad to work on it - We need funding to do it, since our funding is all tied up with other projects…In fact I have not been paid this year because we are tight with funds, so I just hired a grant writer to help me keep our current projects going…I am sure we will find the funding to keep going another 30 years (smile), but adding a new project needs backing…

You have been so terrific, Charles, in helping. Perhaps you can find funding for the new projects, or at least encourage graduate students to take the project on?

Thank you for your great article on the City of Helen in the ASL Wikipedia!

I am glad we did not have to do that from video!

Val ;-)


On Oct 1, 2012, at 7:59 AM, Charles Butler wrote:

Dear Oscar, Valerie, and many others. 

The standard is expressive, I am one of the few who was not only trained, but certified, in receptive. When I was transcribing Lucinda Batch's videos, I had to stop each frame, frame by frame, put it in my hands, then write it again, and I was constantly reversing directions, hands, movements, and it was a real headache. 

For me, it would have been faster had I transcribed it receptively, and then taken the whole sign, flipped it over by a mathematical transform and it would be done. A movement in is a movement out, right hand remains right hand on the opposite side with opposite movement seeing from the expressive view. Movement down is still movement down, any combination is a true receptive to expressive view, what we as signers do all the time.  I learned both styles and can do either at will. 

Trying to annotate a videotape may present a unique challenge because the idea of taking a videotape, as presented, and having a program take that program, reverse, mirror image, and transform all movements backwards is what, I believe, necessary in the long run to be able to dovetail video presentation into sign writing without long hours of transcription time by authors.

Humans do this all the time. To use sign language you translate into expressive everything you see. 

You can't closed-caption a video if you can't type SignWriting at speed, you have to have a visual recognition program, and with the increase in speed and memory, this, I could see, being done. It requires training a body recognition program in reading an avatar and reversing its movements, which has been done in multiple programs in Brazil, and some in Germany. 

The current programmers of SignWriting do not have time to do this. The transcription is being done translating written spoken language to written signed language, but no one seems to be tackling taking a video and creating a transcription through video annotation so that a machine can transcribe, not through a human interaction. 

That, apparently, is not being discussed here, to my somewhat annoyance, as "it is too difficult" didn't stop it from being done in the first place. The textbooks had to be rewritten, which means the original textbooks are still there and can be used as a starting point to reverse a receptive video tape to an expressive transcription. That's what programming is for, to reduce a tedious task to something relatively error free. 
Charles Butler
[log in to unmask]
Clear writing moves business forward.

From: Oscar Koller <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Monday, October 1, 2012 9:02 AM
Subject: annotation in receptive rather than expressive view point

Hi Charles,

thanks for your answer.

> Oscar, as you have an assistant annotating video tapes, trying to
> translate in your head to an expressive point of view may be driving
> you crazy.

Yes, I have been thinking about that too. And it would be preferable to
do annotation from the receptive view point. However, I need the
transcriptions in an expressive view point in order to match all the
other entries in SignPuddle (as I use them to initialise my system). The
manual annotations are intended to serve as evaluation of the
initialized system, thus they need to match.

If there was an automatic (mathematical) way of converting receptive
into expressive view points, then we could do the "easier" annotation.
But I learnt from Steve Slevinski, that this has not been implemented
and to me it doesn't seem trivial to implement it.

Or does anybody think differently?

Regards, Oscar.

Am 28.09.2012 13:51, schrieb Charles Butler:
> Oscar, as you have an assistant annotating video tapes, trying to
> translate in your head to an expressive point of view may be driving you
> crazy. One project in Belo Horizonte is using receptive SignWriting
> specifically when annotating video tapes so that you see parallel
> movements, not mirror movements when you look at them side by side. You
> write what you see on the videotape, not reverse it to your own hands.
> What this means is that the videotaped person's left hand is on your
> right, and the videotaped person's right hand is on your left. You have
> to remember that you are writing another person's hands, not your own,
> so when you look in a dictionary like Delegs or any of the current
> SignPuddles, you will not find what you see on a videotape, but its
> expressive equivalent.
> Charles Butler
> [log in to unmask]
> 240-764-5748
> Clear writing moves business forward.
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> *From:* Charles Butler <[log in to unmask]>
> *To:* [log in to unmask]
> *Sent:* Friday, September 28, 2012 7:29 AM
> *Subject:* Re: help with signwriting
> Oscar,
> Reply, in the first sign, you are using a "both hands" arrow when the
> hands are moving separately. If you are bringing the hands back toward
> yourself, you need two arrows toward yourself, put them next to each
> hand rather than in the middle. This is a common mistake as I'd be able
> to read it, but the hands are not moving in a common path. This is a
> common mistake, a single arrow is only used when both hands are actually
> together.
> In the second sign, your left hand is pointed downward, but you are
> using a right hand arrow moving twice. Use a left hand arrow or a right
> hand, not a mix. You could move your right hand in this fashion, but
> your hand would be twisted outward rather awkwardly, unlikely that this
> is what you mean.
> Charles Butler
> [log in to unmask]
> 240-764-5748
> Clear writing moves business forward.
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> *From:* Oscar Koller <[log in to unmask]>
> *To:* [log in to unmask]
> *Sent:* Friday, September 28, 2012 6:06 AM
> *Subject:* help with signwriting
> Hello everybody,
> I added following appended 4 entries to the German Sign Puddle. The
> editors noted in each case that the writing is not correct. Could
> anybody explain to me, what should be changed?
> Thanks
> Oscar.

Val ;-)

Valerie Sutton

ASL Wikipedia Project on Wikimedia Labs

ASL articles are translations of articles in the English Wikipedia:

1. Charles-Michel de l'Epee

2. Laurent Clerc

4. City of Helen, Georgia,_Georgia