What kind of tech do sign language researchers use?

I for one have an embarrassingly vast lack of knowledge sign language. It seems that the tide is turning a bit and sign (should it be sign? See? I don’t even know that!) is starting to get more attention in basic linguistics classes.

So, my question: what kind of software do sign researchers rely on? Video, certainly, but what video software? Are there any custom-made tools out there?

Any pointers to good overview papers?

No one would be surprised to see me suggest that there are a lot of interesting possibilities for documenting sign with web platform technology, or at least, it seems that way to my uniformed :brain: .

Would love to see what folks have to say!

1 Like

Got an interesting response from Ryan Lepic over on Twitter, I’ll copy the commentary and links in here (Twitter is so ephemeral!):


…a lot of folks use the mpi-developed ELAN for video annotation (https://juliehochgesang.com/elan/). doc projects are relatively small and ppl maintain their own databases. ASL, ironically, is pretty far behind some other sign languages. check out this paper:


there is also the long-running sign language processing workshop attached to LREC (https://sign-lang.uni-hamburg.de/lrec-ws/workshops.html), but i have not attended and always found the proceedings too short and tantalizing

It certainly seems that Julie Hochgesang is someone to follow in this domain:


Here are her slides on using ELAN for sign:

And she has a great list of resources here:


1 Like

There is also this software for sign language dictionary making. https://soosl.net/