sign-lang@LREC Anthology

Challenges with Sign Language Datasets for Sign Language Recognition and Translation

Sisto, Mirella De | Vandeghinste, Vincent | Egea Gómez, Santiago | Coster, Mathieu De | Shterionov, Dimitar

Proceedings of the 13th International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC 2022)
Marseille, France
20 to 25 June 2022
European Language Resources Association (ELRA)
CC BY-NC 4.0


Sign Languages (SLs) are the primary means of communication for at least half a million people in Europe alone. However, the development of SL recognition and translation tools is slowed down by a series of obstacles concerning resource scarcity and standardization issues in the available data. The former challenge relates to the volume of data available for machine learning as well as the time required to collect and process new data. The latter obstacle is linked to the variety of the data, i.e., annotation formats are not unified and vary amongst different resources. The available data formats are often not suitable for machine learning, obstructing the provision of automatic tools based on neural models. In the present paper, we give an overview of these challenges by comparing various SL corpora and SL machine learning datasets. Furthermore, we propose a framework to address the lack of standardization at format level, unify the available resources and facilitate SL research for different languages. Our framework takes ELAN files as inputs and returns textual and visual data ready to train SL recognition and translation models. We present a proof of concept, training neural translation models on the data produced by the proposed framework.

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  author    = {Sisto, Mirella De and Vandeghinste, Vincent and Egea G{\'o}mez, Santiago and Coster, Mathieu De and Shterionov, Dimitar},
  title     = {Challenges with Sign Language Datasets for Sign Language Recognition and Translation},
  pages     = {2478--2487},
  editor    = {Calzolari, Nicoletta and Fr{\'e}d{\'e}ric B{\'e}chet and Blache, Philippe and Choukri, Khalid and Cieri, Christopher and Declerck, Thierry and Goggi, Sara and Isahara, Hitoshi and Maegaard, Bente and Mariani, Joseph and Mazo, H{\'e}l{\`e}ne and Odijk, Jan and Piperidis, Stelios},
  booktitle = {13th International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation ({LREC} 2022)},
  publisher = {{European Language Resources Association (ELRA)}},
  address   = {Marseille, France},
  day       = {20--25},
  month     = jun,
  year      = {2022},
  language  = {english},
  url       = {}
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