What we do

SIL's Global Sign Languages Team seeks to build capacity in Deaf communities around the world for the implementation of their language development goals by helping to provide networking opportunities for Deaf organizations and through innovative strategies in: 

  • Training for using ELAN with sign languagesProvision of technical services, both consultant assistance for sign language translators and software tools development;
  • Training in sign language linguistics, sign language translation, and principles of multilingual Deaf education (MLDE); and
  • Sociolinguistic research on the world’s sign languages.

Four considerations shape SIL’s involvement: 

  • Sign languages have developed separately from spoken languages, and are unique languages in their own right.
  • Deaf communities form unique people groups with their own cultures, distinct from surrounding majority hearing cultures.
  • The most effective, sustainable language development efforts in sign languages are those initiated and led by local Deaf communities.
  • Sign languages require approaches and technology that are different from spoken language development strategies.