An AI sign language translator developed by Tencent Youtu Lab was introduced at Tencent Global Digital Ecosystem Summit, which was held recently in Kunming, Yunnan Province, according to china.com.cn.
At present, Youtu Lab and Shenzhen Accessibility Research Association have jointly set up a project team to conduct long-term cooperation in fields including the collection of sign language data and the optimization of algorithms, the report said.
The translator uses a common camera to capture sign language data and then conducts background computing.
The device is expected to be installed in public areas like airports and civil affairs service centers in the future, according to Jia Jiaya, a scientist and person in charge of the Tencent Youtu Lab project.
Sign language recognition (SLR) can automatically recognize a variety of signs and translate them into written text with the help of computer algorithms.
Unlike other research on AI vision recognition technology, the recognition of sign language has larger challenges, as the complexity and diversity of different hand gestures used in different areas increases the hardship in collecting data.
The self-developed algorithm used in this machine has enabled a breakthrough in recognizing complex sign language. It was said that the translator can identify 900 commonly used signs and covers nearly 1,000 daily expressions.
It has the most data on Chinese sign language so far, supports the recognition of an entire sentence, and can directly understand and complete a translation by the time users stop communicating, the report said.
There are 72 million people with hearing disabilities in China, according to data released by Beijing Hearing Society in 2017. The launch of the translator will, to some degree, facilitate their communication, the report said.
“We hope the machine will provide better services for people with impaired hearing in public places and help develop information accessibility,” said Jia.
Early in 2009, Tencent started its move to improve information accessibility. Most Tencent products, such as QQ, WeChat and Qi’e FM, have made improvements specifically aimed at customers with disabilities, according to the report. (Wang Jingli)