Elysse A. 2024 | BASIS Independent Fremont
- Project Title: Malaysian Sign Language Translating App using Machine Learning
- Basis Independent Advisor: Ms. Nasira Shahin
- Internship Location: Wolfspeed, CA
- Onsite Mentor: Fata Anvar
Although countries like the United States are making increasing amounts of developments in aiding those with disabilities through making amenities more accessible and facilitating awareness, countries like Malaysia haven’t made as much progress. Around 42,652 people across Malaysia are registered to have some type of hearing problems, although this number is likely to be higher in reality. In addition to this, Malaysia is distinct in that it is ethnically diverse: the population consists of Malay (69.8%), Chinese (22.4%), Indian (6.8%) and others (1.0%). As such, there are many different varieties of Malaysian Sign Language which differ by state and by culture. A combination of Malaysia’s language diversity and less expansive access to technology in some areas has led to disconnect with and a lack of awareness of the deaf community. Far fewer people are aware of Bahasa Insyarat Malaysia (also called BIM, the official sign language of Malaysia) and how to use it, and responsive resources made to assist communication through BIM like courses are either scarce or expensive.
My project seeks to create an easily accessible mobile application that translates words in BIM to Malay and English via camera. I intend my application to not only be used by Malaysian people who are hard of hearing for translating words in daily communication, but also to be used by others interested in learning and practicing BIM. Through this project I seek to accomplish two objectives: 1) to develop skills in using machine learning and in app-developing and 2) to enter, understand, and possibly contribute to the discussion regarding disability and accessibility to technology within different societal contexts. In developing this app, I hope to gain and spread knowledge about deaf communities abroad.