Chilean university “translates” software for Uruguayan and Mexican deaf people

The free access system developed by specialists at the Chilean university is now being adapted for children in other Latin American countries.

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The Technology Development Center at the Psychology Faculty of the Pontificia Universidad Católica (PUC) created Sueñaletras (Letterdreamer), an innovative and practical free-access software to facilitate reading for deaf children.

Up until now the software had only benefited Chilean children, something that will begin to change this year, as experts from the academic institution will translate the system to the sign language for the deaf that is used in Uruguay and Mexico.

The initiative has the support of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), whose specialists and Chilean counterparts are working with deaf children from both countries. Along with this work, the experts are developing a transfer methodology that allows other countries to adapt the software to their sing language autonomously.

According to Ricardo Rosas, director of the Technology Development Center, all deaf communities develop their own language and that is why they are different in each country, though he also acknowledges that there are far more similarities than there are between spoken languages.

In addition to translating Sueñaletras the team is working on another system designed for children with hearing impairments: Dicciseñas a sign language dictionary.

Once the first stage dedicated to working with children and teachers is over the group will work on the development of two new versions of the software and expects to launch them in Mexico and Uruguay in November this year. Like Sueñaletras, it will be totally free software.

The PUC, one of the most prestigious universities in the region, has implemented advanced teaching methods similar to those used at Stanford University in the United States.