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One Does Not Simply Search For STEM Signs In ASL


In 2013, the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf reported [1] that there are more than 16,000 interpreters in the United States. These members are part of a large industry of interpreters and translators who provide access for the 1,000,000+ Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard-of-Hearing folks across many situations.

From government jobs to routine doctor visits, interpreters facilitate total and clear communication. Now, we are seeing a growth of Deaf folks involved with Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math (STEM) fields who require the same level of access and communication. At the 2017 IAD-IRID Conference in Naperville, IL, we presented How to Branch Out into STEM, a workshop on STEM interpreting.

‘How to Branch Out into STEM’ workshop at 2017 IAD-IRID Conference

This workshop introduced interpreters to the needs of those in STEM fields and how to get involved. Part of this was the announcement of the upcoming beta of SignsFive — an open-sourced, community-driven dictionary for STEM signs in ASL (American Sign Language).

Alpha version coming fall 2017; Beta version coming 2018

There is an open call for people to fill out the survey for the SignsFive team to understand the background of their audience, their needs, and what works best for them. This dictionary will serve to:

  • prepare interpreters for jobs with clients in STEM fields,
  • educate d/D/DB/HoH on STEM signs,
  • and further expands the vocabulary of sign language
A question from survey.signsfive.com

Why should you care about this?

Many resources exist, sure, but they’re hard to find. They’re hard to use. They’re hard to share. They’re hard to contribute to. They’re hard to maintain. SignsFive plans to improve on this by letting those who communicate in these fields everyday, contribute to the growing lexicon of STEM signs directly.

So, let’s make it easier together. But first, we need to understand you better and how you might use SignsFive. Take a 5-minute survey.


Meet the SignsFive Team

  • Jason Salerno (DeafBlind): Fullstack Development / Product Lead
  • Giordon Stark (Deaf/HoH): Fullstack Development
  • Melissa Manak (Deaf/HoH): Interaction Design / User Experience
  • Nick Ng (Deaf/HoH): Visual Design and User Interface Engineering / Product Facilitator
  • Sandy Tiana (Deaf/HoH): Community Consultant
  • Emily Wang (Hearing): Human-Computer Interaction
  • RGCHI (Hearing): Web Development / Interpreting Consultant