(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) Israel’s first online sign language lexicon launches Wednesday. In the lexicon—which is the fruit of two years of work by the Institute for the Advancement of Deaf Persons in Israel (IADPI)—users enter a word in Hebrew, English, Arabic, or Russian, and immediately, a video clip opens in which a presenter demonstrates the word in Israeli Sign Language.
The lexicon currently contains 3,000 five-second clips and will continue to be expanded. The purpose of the project is to facilitate communication between the deaf and the hearing in the workplace, in customer service situations, during medical consultations, and in other everyday situations.
IADPI Executive Director Yael Kakun said, “This is an innovative service that will connect the citizens of Israel, Jewish and Arab, with a single language, and help those who hear begin a dialogue with deaf and hearing-impaired people.”
Kakun added, “The lexicon and its accessibility will allow every citizen of Israel to provide minimal aid in real time and learn work-related terms in the language spoken by people who do not hear.”
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein was scheduled to become the first user of the service on Wednesday. All other Knesset members will be invited to use the online tool, and it is scheduled to be permanently available in the Knesset for the use of legislators and visitors.