University to develop online tool for deaf learners

A University of Wolverhampton project to build an online learning tool for deaf media students has won nearly £250,000 in funding.

The SignMedia SMART initiative aims to write a piece of software which will translate common terms used in the media into sign language equivalents.

It is being designed for students across Europe and so will contain sign language variants across different languages.

The funding has come from the Leonardo da Vinci programme of the European Union Lifelong learning programmeand ‌the project will be led by the University’s Faculty of Arts with experts from the Faculty of Social Sciences.

The project was launched this week (Tuesday, December 10) at an event held in Wolverhampton and to which the University’s Euopean partners in the initiative - Klagenfurt University, Austria, Alba Cooperative, Italy, European Sign Language Centre (Sweden), Mutt & Jeff Pictures Ltd, UK and Bellyfeel Ltd, - were invited.

Principal Lecturer, Faculty of Arts, Samantha Hope, said: “Sign language in each country is different, and is also distinct from written English. Research has found that Europeans wish to learn written English for work and travel, but some methods of doing this have not proved successful. The original SignMedia project successfully tackled this problem for media specialists and we are very proud that we have won further funding for SignMedia SMART to expand a glossary of media terms onto a mobile platform, so that Deaf media specialists can access the resource in studio, out on location and generally on the move.

“The new SignMedia SMART project also sees an extension of the SignMedia online resource to a new country, Sweden, and the new SignMedia SMART mobile application will provide a comprehensive glossary of media terms in the sign language of each partner country. This means there will be four versions of the glossary in British, Italian, Austrian and Swedish Sign Languages.

“We are delighted to have been awarded this grant, and look forward to working with our European and UK partners on the project. The finished product will enhance the inclusion of Deaf media specialists in the European media industry and help improve their career prospects across Europe.”

ENDS

For more information please contact Chris Jones in the Media Relations Office on 01902 322736

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