Justus Piater


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Using viseme recognition to improve a sign language translation system
Christoph Schmidt | Oscar Koller | Hermann Ney | Thomas Hoyoux | Justus Piater
Proceedings of the 10th International Workshop on Spoken Language Translation: Papers

Sign language-to-text translation systems are similar to spoken language translation systems in that they consist of a recognition phase and a translation phase. First, the video of a person signing is transformed into a transcription of the signs, which is then translated into the text of a spoken language. One distinctive feature of sign languages is their multi-modal nature, as they can express meaning simultaneously via hand movements, body posture and facial expressions. In some sign languages, certain signs are accompanied by mouthings, i.e. the person silently pronounces the word while signing. In this work, we closely integrate a recognition and translation framework by adding a viseme recognizer (“lip reading system”) based on an active appearance model and by optimizing the recognition system to improve the translation output. The system outperforms the standard approach of separate recognition and translation.


RWTH-PHOENIX-Weather: A Large Vocabulary Sign Language Recognition and Translation Corpus
Jens Forster | Christoph Schmidt | Thomas Hoyoux | Oscar Koller | Uwe Zelle | Justus Piater | Hermann Ney
Proceedings of the Eighth International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC'12)

This paper introduces the RWTH-PHOENIX-Weather corpus, a video-based, large vocabulary corpus of German Sign Language suitable for statistical sign language recognition and translation. In contrastto most available sign language data collections, the RWTH-PHOENIX-Weather corpus has not been recorded for linguistic research but for the use in statistical pattern recognition. The corpus contains weather forecasts recorded from German public TV which are manually annotated using glosses distinguishing sign variants, and time boundaries have been marked on the sentence and the gloss level. Further, the spoken German weather forecast has been transcribed in a semi-automatic fashion using a state-of-the-art automatic speech recognition system. Moreover, an additional translation of the glosses into spoken German has been created to capture allowable translation variability. In addition to the corpus, experimental baseline results for hand and head tracking, statistical sign language recognition and translation are presented.


The SignSpeak Project - Bridging the Gap Between Signers and Speakers
Philippe Dreuw | Hermann Ney | Gregorio Martinez | Onno Crasborn | Justus Piater | Jose Miguel Moya | Mark Wheatley
Proceedings of the Seventh International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC'10)

The SignSpeak project will be the first step to approach sign language recognition and translation at a scientific level already reached in similar research fields such as automatic speech recognition or statistical machine translation of spoken languages. Deaf communities revolve around sign languages as they are their natural means of communication. Although deaf, hard of hearing and hearing signers can communicate without problems amongst themselves, there is a serious challenge for the deaf community in trying to integrate into educational, social and work environments. The overall goal of SignSpeak is to develop a new vision-based technology for recognizing and translating continuous sign language to text. New knowledge about the nature of sign language structure from the perspective of machine recognition of continuous sign language will allow a subsequent breakthrough in the development of a new vision-based technology for continuous sign language recognition and translation. Existing and new publicly available corpora will be used to evaluate the research progress throughout the whole project.