A first-of-its-kind sign language dictionary has been released in India. This pathbreaking venture aims to bring uniformity in sign languages used by hearing and speech impaired people across the nation.

The Indian Sign Language (ISL) dictionary, developed by the Indian Sign Language Research and Training Centre (ISLRTC), comprises of 3,000 Hindi and English words and their corresponding graphic representation of the signs which are used in daily life. The project which was in the loop for one and half years is available both in print and video format.

The words in the dictionary are divided into five categories —

  • Every day
  • Legal
  • Academic
  • Medical
  • Technical

Words in the Categories

Everyday terms category includes words that are used in everyday communication. The legal category includes videos for 237 legal terms like “affidavit”, “acquittal”, etc., that are used in various legal situations.

Academic terms help deaf children understand complex academic concepts and contain explanations for terms like “nervous system”, “rotation” and “revolution”, etc. The words are from various subjects like Physics, Geography, Biology, Maths, among others. This category contains 229 videos for 212 terms.

The medical category includes 200 sign videos for 200 medical terms to help the deaf community understand the medical terminologies used in hospitals and in medical situations.

The technical category has 206 videos of signs and explanations for 204 technical terms that are used in vocational training or in computer courses.

Impact & Outreach

“The basic aim of developing the ISL Dictionary is to remove communication barriers between the deaf and hearing impaired communities as it is focused on providing more information in Indian sign language,” said Union Social Justice and Empowerment Minister, Thaawarchand Gehlot at the release of the dictionary.

The dictionary contains graphic representations of popular signs used by the hearing impaired and also includes regional variations. It will be regularly updated with new words.

“It will also enable government officials, teachers, professionals, community leaders and the public at large to learn and use sign language,” a senior ministry official said.

As many as 300 dictionaries were distributed. The DVD of the dictionary will also be uploaded on the ministry’s website and people can procure it from ISLRTC too. With a population of  50,71,007 deaf and 19,98,535 speech disability person in India, this dictionary will usher-in a much-needed change.

Source: Firstpost