London: Researchers are designing a software programme which instantly translates sign language into type which can be read on a computer screen.
The new technology could be available by the year-end and change the way the deaf communicate and brighten their prospects in the job market, scientists said.
A normal camera is used to record the user`s hand signals, which are translated by the programme into written text for the benefit of the person who may not grasp the sign language.
Researchers now hope to develop the basic programme, known as the Portable Sign Language Translator (PSLT), into an "app" which could be used on PCs, laptops, tablets, smart phones and other portable devices, the Telegraph reports.
The programme is being developed by Aberdeen University scientists through a spin-out company called Technabling, and could be used with a range of different sign languages including British Sign Language (BSL) which is used by up to 70,000 people in the UK.
James Christie, one of the researchers who is partially deaf and a sign language user, added: "The PSLT lowers the communication barrier between people born deaf, people who have lost their hearing very early in life, especially in face-to-face situations such as tutorials and group work."