Okay, the only current way to type in ASL and convert to English is to work with a very limited vocabulary set (the current ASL-English glosses in the signwriting dictionary).  One could, conceivably, set up a program to take an English gloss sentence and translate that into English and ASL. That is the only way that the current Translator program in the SignPuddle can work that way. One would have to program a very large phrase set (ME SHOP PAST QUESTION YOU) as both "I went shopping yesterday, did you?" and the five ASL signs related to it from the ASL SignPuddle.  It is not instantaneous, but it is possible. 

This kind of experimentation is working in Brazil for quadraplegic deaf (those who have lost the use of their hands), using a light pencil strapped onto their foreheads, onto a Brazilian Sign Language display screen so that they can use a common display set of Brazilian signs to be able to be either simply printed as Brazilian sign or translated phrase by phrase with a vocoder into spoken Portuguese.  It is in the experimental stages now, but can be done.

Machine translation always requires human intervention to ensure that the translation is actual human language and not approximation. The various English-French auto translators are a good first guess, but they aren't true translations. English to Portuguese is the same way.  Translating a Portuguese sentence about Brazilian sign language requires one knowing that LIBRAS is the name of the language, but that libras (lower case) is the Portuguese word for "books". A machine translation doesn't make a difference between ALL CAPS and lower case so you'd get "Esses libras se escrivam na LIBRAS" would be translated as "These books are written in books" rather than "these books are written in Brazilian Sign Language".  

From: Meryeme Ayache <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Fri, December 3, 2010 6:43:38 PM
Subject: Re: Welcome to a new member from Morocco!

thank you valerie I got your message now and sorry to cause you trouble :) and for shane yes that will be a great idea to meet and talk about signwriting

here is the messege that I wanted to send to the mailing list before I got the comfirmation :

hey everybody,
well I will present myself first I am Meryeme AYACHE a student in ENSIAS (it is a school of computer engineering in Morocco) I am in my second year. my nationality is Moroccan :). well during this year we have to realize a compiler. and I choose to work on "a compiler of ASL (american signed language) to English). so I have to verify many norms and steps to get this project done:

1.  get the syntax of this language I mean ASL. and then work on its grammar that will be introduced in my compiler. (it don't have many ambiguities). I found out that the FSL (French signed language) does have its own syntax that is shown in the document attached (place , object, agent, action) and I am wondering if the ASL does have the same syntax and if it is limited or not.

2. have a full treatment of the tokens (and I mean with the tokens those signs used in the American Sign Language); I have to think about how to insert those signs from the keyboard. I had some suggestions saying that I can drag and drop them and put them in the sentence but the problem is that we are going to eliminate the lexical analyzer that has to refuse all the symbols or characters that do not belong to ASL: so that will not make a good compiler or a full one ....sad face.... however I thought about just using the font of those signs but the problem of the font that it gives you only letters in the ASL and we have to have more signs to have a full sentence because as you know in the ASL we do have gestures and movement signed. so here is my first obstacle.

3.when I was thinking about the syntactical analyzer I was thinking if there are some ambiguities. I want to say if there is same symbol that stands for two words (like in english we have one word that can be used in different contexts or may be two synonyms that mean the same thing. so this will cause us some fuzziness in the language though. 

4. and for the dictionary: I got the chance to go on the website http://www.movementwriting.org/symbolbank/ but this dictionary is really missed us and you not organized so I will try to work on this too to have a better dictionary for my compiler

     so here is the main problems that I found during my researches, can any one help me in the project and here is a specific document that explain pretty much what I want to do exactly. well my project is due the next month I mean due jannuary 2011 but I can continue in the project if it is not done since I consider it as a personal project as well.
thank you for your help and I really hope that we can work on this project because it can facilitate the communication between normal people and deaf people as well. because if we can realize this project we can use it in ichat for example. I mean the deaf person can type in ASL and the compiler will turn it to English and we can send it to a normal person. so any suggestions are welcomed :)  

Meryeme Ayache.
Elève ingénieur ( 2ème année )
Ecole Nationale Supérieure d'Informatique et d'Analyse des Systèmes (Rabat).