CSE498, Collaborative Design, Fall 2022
Computer Science and Engineering
Michigan State University

Microsoft is a multinational and industry-leading technology company best known for developing numerous operating systems, software, and online computing service platforms. Microsoft is also an active supporter of open-source development, as they hold a firm belief that contributing to open-source projects greatly accelerates innovation.

A roadblock that slows down the progress of this innovation is the lack of English-to-ASL translation for STEM-related words and other technological jargon. Those who sign with ASL that graduate high school have the reading comprehension of a 4th grader on average, making it harder to contribute to scientific studies.

Our Making STEM Papers Accessible to ASL Users system gives ASL users an easily-accessible resource that both translates scientific words of the reader’s choosing and gives them suggestions for words they might be interested in translating.

Our translator takes the form of a Google Chrome extension. It is accessible on a wide variety of webpages, increasing its usability.

Words are selected by highlighting them on the page with the mouse before activating the extension. Once the word is selected and the extension is activated, a video of that word’s ASL translation is embedded inside a pop-up.

Words that do not have translations can be manually highlighted to show the user a similar word’s ASL translation video. If similar enough words do not exist, a link to YouTube search results for that word’s translation is displayed.

Our software makes it quick and seamless for ASL users to translate words from English to ASL, improving reading comprehension of ASL users.

The front end of our translator is written in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. The back end is written in Python. The front end is connected to the back end via Flask.