The 2008 Convention on the Rights of the Disabled states that television content should be accessible to the deaf. However, the production of sign language programs is very expensive. Therefore, many television producers use only subtitles. However, most deaf people, want more broadcasts in sign language.
At the end of the project CONTENT4ALL, the system will provide a remote studio so that recordings of human signers are more affordable for broadcasters. The sign interpreter can record remotely and does not need to travel to the TV broadcaster. With the new technical system, TV broadcasters will be able to create sign language programs more easily and cheaply in the future. As a result, more programs will be offered in sign language. The deaf viewer will see the TV content translated in natural sign language via a virtual reproduction of a human signer. Therefore, it will look very natural.
The project lasts 3 years and uses the latest technologies such as remote studios (not at the TV station), a self-learning system for recording sign language, automatic sign language generation and a photo realistic virtual sign language interpreter who will look like a real sign language interpreter. In addition, we will develop technology that will help to translate into sign language automatically. It will be a proof of concept demonstration. At the end of the project, the feasibility will be tested in 2 scenarios: weather and sports news. Furthermore, the project results will be used for ongoing research. For the final system, deaf viewers can simply connect the virtual interpreter to the original TV stream via HbbTV or mobile devices (e.g. tablet, smartphone). With the technical solution, it will be possible for TV broadcasters to produce more signed content. A glimpse into the ideal future where all content would be signed.
The team consists of Fincons Group AG, University of Surrey, Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute, Swiss TEXT AG, R. T Vlaamse Radio- en Televisieomroeporganisatie, and HFC Human-Factors-Consult GmbH.
For CONTENT4ALL we will bring in our user-centred design approach together with our expertise in user research, user experience, and accessibility. As in many previous projects, HFC will support and be responsible for user experience engineering, collecting user requirements, translating these requirements within an UX-design approach into meaningful interfaces and interaction concepts, and iteratively conducting user tests which lead to recommendations for technical partners.