Open Sourcing Sign Language

This week we did something a little different. Bits of Berlin co-host, Bodo, has been working on SignDict for the last few months with the help of the Prototype Fund. With the six month long funding round coming to an end, it’s the perfect time to check in on what he’s been up to.

SignDict is an online dictionary for German sign language that anyone can contribute to. Bodo is a CODA, and originally had the idea for SignDict ten years ago. Finally, thanks to other technologies like Google Hangouts, modern browsers care equipped to handle his project.

Similar to a search engine, users can search for words and are presented with corresponding videos. If a word has more than one sign due to dialects and slang, users can upvote, and if the word isn’t there or you know a different sign for it, you can upload a video yourself. In the future, Bodo hopes to add other languages, playlists, and of course, a large community.

Take a listen, and learn all about how SignDict is a one of a kind, continuously evolving representation of a thriving and beautiful language.