Washington University and Gallaudet University Collaborate on Science ASL Forum

stemGallaudet University has collaborated with the University of Washington to develop the ASL-STEM forum, an online wiki of technical signs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The ASL-STEM forum is an open community where anyone can contribute signs in ASL that best correspond to technical words in English. The forum maintains a database of all the different signs which have been contributed. Members who join this community can assign a rating for each of the various signs in the database. The wiki currently has 967 users with over 2,900 signs added to it. The wiki actively encourages ASL interpreters, deaf and hard of hearing citizens, and others to contribute to the online community.

According to the ASL-STEM wiki, “The ASL-STEM Forum is part of a research venture at the University of Washington which seeks to remove a fundamental obstacle currently in the way of deaf scholars, both students and professionals. Due to its relative youth and widely dispersed user base, American Sign Language (ASL) has never developed standardized vocabulary for the many terms that have arisen in advanced Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields. This makes it hard for deaf students to learn in their native language, and it makes communication between both deaf and hearing scientists and engineers far more difficult.”

Back in 2012, Lydia Callis, an ASL interpreter based in New York City, presented a signed article on the New York Times website as part of that news company’s story on ASL-STEM. Her video is shown below.

Do you have a sign to contribute to ASL-STEM? Join the community and present your video to them for posting. Visit the University of Washington ASL-STEM wiki by clicking here.

To read the New York Times article on this topic from December 2012, click here.

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