Sign language online dictionary

Last updated 12 September 2019 HTML5 Icon


Sign languages and their oral counterparts are distinct languages, with different grammar and distinct channels. There are several dictionaries to support the translation from oral to sign languages. These dictionaries are mainly directed to those mastering the oral language. Most of them are available online (check below a few examples). They provide a text field to type a word and present a video with its representation in a given sign language.

However, there are no dictionaries directed for the deaf, i.e., one dictionary where people can search for signs and retrieve the corresponding word.

The purpose of this project is to analyze, design and implement an online dictionary directed for those mastering a sign language and looking for translations in the corresponding oral language.

This dictionary will be supported by the VirtualSign translation model and database. VirtualSign is a bidirectional translator between sign and oral languages that is being developed by the research lab GILT form the last few years. The underlying translation database, to be used for this project, has thousands of terms translated in six European sign languages and is continuously evolving.

Examples of online sign language dictionaries:


Draft work plan:

1 – define the problem and the research hypothesis

3 – analyze the state of art in sign languages dictionaries

2 – design the sign to oral language online dictionary supported by the VirtualSign translation system

3 – collect required resources

4 – implement the online dictionary platform

5 – evaluate

6 – deploy the online dictionary and an API/web service to access it from third party systems

7 – publish one or two scientific papers



- Promote equity and equal opportunities

- Provide better access to education and literacy for the deaf


Job related skills

Web development




The student will be integrated in the VirtualSign research team VirtualSign from the GILT research group

Place of work will be lab F100-O at ISEP - School of Engineering of the Polytechnic Institute of Porto, Portugal





Study Domain(S)

Computer Science and IT

Valid until

31 July 2020



Study Degree

Bachelor, Master


Not Paid



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