A MULTILINGUAL DICTIONARY FOR SIGN LANGUAGES: "SPREADTHESIGN"
"SpreadTheSign" (http://www.spreadthesign.com/) is the largest online dictionary for sign languages in the world, covering more than half of Europe as well as non-European countries like the USA, Brazil, Japan and India.
From 2012-2015, the dictionary is being enlarged through a Leonardo Network project with 15 partner countries (Sweden, UK, Spain, Portugal, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Turkey, Germany, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Iceland, Austria, Italy and Russia). The coordinator is Örebro University in Sweden, the project manager the European Sign Language Center (also in Sweden). The aim of this project is to add 15.000 sign videos for each country.
"SpreadTheSign" started out as a vocational online dictionary, but is no longer limited to vocational topics. Its target groups are deaf vocational students travelling to other countries, sign language interpreters and all the people who are interested in sign languages and want to learn and/or compare signs from different national sign languages. In this way, "SpreadTheSign" also contributes to an improved communication between deaf and hearing people.
The dictionary can be used for free on the homepage of "SpreadTheSign" (working with all internet browsers), but there is also an app for iPhone, iPad and Android (the basic version is also free), so it can be used on the go.
First, the users have to choose a language. Afterwards, they can look up words, numbers and sentences (there is also a section for the various finger alphabets). They can use a simple search function (typing in text) or search in a list of topics or even just for certain word classes (i.e. verbs). The contents are available in written form (in the chosen language) as well as in the form of sign language videos. Difficult words come with signed and written explanations; some signs may be visualized with drawings and/or mime.
A special feature is the option to compare two signs from different sign languages. This is especially helpful for linguists, who want to look for similarities and/or differences between sign languages (i.e. with regard to iconicity).
"SpreadTheSign" is continually being revised and improved; new features are being added. It will help to increase the mobility of deaf people and also improve their chances on the labour market.
At the moment, the online dictionary contains 281.672 signs. The future vision of "SpreadTheSign" is to provide a dictionary that contains all the sign languages in the world.