I recently got interviewed by loQal about my research. You can read the article here. I guess I didn't explain some things clearly enough and I'd hate to give a false impression regarding the research. Here are some items I'd like to clarify or correct.
- The Filipino Sign Language (FSL) Archive project is a collaboration between:
- Philippine Deaf Resource Center (PDRC) - an NGO
- Philippine Federation of the Deaf (PFD) - an NGO
- Digital Signal Processing (DSP) Lab of the Electrical and Electronics Engineering Institute
- Computer Vision and Machine Intelligence Group (CVMIG) of the Department of Computer Science
DSP and CVMIG are both of the College of Engineering, UP Diliman.
- The FSL Archive Project is a separate project from the Filipino Speech Corpus (PSC) project. For one thing, Sign is not Speech.
- As far as I know, the linguistics research is being done by PDRC and PFD, not UP.
- I don't have an application or system yet that can convert FSL into text. That is a long way off. What I have are experimental programs. Nothing practical. Also; syntax and semantics of FSL is currently poorly understood. Until we get a better handle on that, FSL to text sentences is not possible.
- FSL vs ASL (vs SEE vs MCE). It cannot be denied that American Sign Language (ASL), Manually Coded English (MCE) and Signing Exact English (SEE) has a huge influence on FSL; however, many Filipino Deaf refer to their language as Filipino Sign Language. This is a social, cultural and political issue in addition to a technical issue. For example, the Deaf I met in Cebu called their sign language Cebu Sign Language. And yes, there is a lot of variation between regions, and provinces.
- FSL vs English (vs Tagalog). This one confuses a lot of people. Sign is not Speech. FSL is not English. FSL is not Tagalog. FSL is a separate, distinct language. It helps if you think of Written English as a separate language from Spoken English. There is no equivalent "Written FSL". To facilitate research, signs are assigned a label called a GLOSS. It is a word or phrase borrowed from another language. Since many Deaf in the Philippines have Written English as a second language, the GLOSS is borrowed from Written English. It is often written in ALL CAPS to distinguish it from Written English (example: THINK-SKIP-MIND). Note that while the GLOSS is chosen to be as close to the meaning of the sign as possible, this is not a translation. This is one reason why you sometimes see Tagalog used as a GLOSS (example: LOLA).
I think that covers most of it. If you have more questions, leave a comment. Thanks for reading!