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Toward a Naturally Signing Avatar


  • Rosalee Wolfe (Project leader)
  • John McDonald
  • Marie Stumbo (BS '14)
  • Allison Lewis (BS '12)
  • Farah Thompson (BS '13)


Our goal is to translate English to American Sign Language, the language of the Deaf in North America. American Sign Language is different from English, with its own unique grammar. It is at least as different from English as any other natural language. An automatic English to ASL translator would give Deaf people greater access to the hearing world. Currently we are developing tools to generate ASL as animation in response to spoken English. Development of an automated synthesizer for ASL will make more information accessible to Deaf people on a more economical basis. It has the potential to allow the deaf to participate in and more fully understand the exchanges among a hearing audience in classrooms, meetings, and other venues. The synthesizer will also provide Deaf people with a better tool than English documents or notes for understanding content. Last year, we focused on lower body support for ASL, and this year, we are focusing on efficiency of rendering, with a goal of real-time display.  For more information, see