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How To Learn Sign Language

Sex eLimu: developing an app in Kenyan sign language with Oxford Dictionaries

♪♪♪ Hello everyone Welcome and thanks for
joining us today. My name is Simone. I’m community manager at
Oxford Dictionaries I’ll be hosting the
session today I’m here with Hudson
and Silvia, his interpreter So now, without further ado,
I’m going to hand it
over to Hudson so he can begin his presentation Hudson, here you go Hello. My name is Hudson Asiema. This is my sign name. I am the CEO and co-founder
of a company known as
Deaf eLimu Plus So today I am going to present
on what Sex eLimu developing an app in sign
language with
Oxford Dictionaries API So you can follow me on the
following social media pages @deafelimuplus You can follow me on Twitter,
Facebook and Instagram So today’s presentation, what
we’d like to talk about The first thing is introduction
to Sex eLimu And I will show you two demo The second thing I will talk
about is my technical journey
of the project I will explain about my
background, my first award, the special challenges
I have faced and also the Sex eLimu bot The final thing I’ll talk
about is the things I wish
I knew before I won the grant So for now I want to
show you a demo on the Sex eLimu I will explain, briefly,
on what it is So this app, it chooses What it does is that it
has the videos of the word And then you can get information on sexual reproductive
health topics As you can see Once you open up the app it will give you the topics You can flip through
and choose the topics It will give you sexual
reproductive health topics
on different things about AIDS and all those things. At the end You’ll be able to see the dictiy These are the words that are
used in sexual reproductive
health terms like abortion If you want to know what that ws You will see a small icon
that you press it and you see, it will give you
the meaning of the word abortion And then also you
can click on AIDS That’s how you sign
the word AIDS And the video shows you how
to sign it, AIDS And then the icon again It explains, what does AIDS
means. It explains there below So you can select something else Maybe like caesarean section,
that’s how you sign it So if you need to understand
what that word means again press on the icon There it’s all in English and
will explain what it means So that’s how the app works You can also see another word:
how do you sign ‘circumcision’? So then again there’s an
explanation from the dictionary So that’s how the app works It shows the sexual reproductiv
health topics and the dictionary And where did I get this
dictionary from? Oxford API Next, the other demo I
want to show you This demo is on Sign Language
Dictionary Bot This is available through
Facebook messenger What you do is ask a word
to help you sign a word Let’s see, play it So on Facebook Messenger @SLDictionary That’s where you find it And then, what you do is you
click on the bot And maybe you can send a
message like ‘hello’ So you send a
message ‘sign hello’ and then the message will come u and it will give you three optis how to sign it what it means and how to browse the dictionary So those are the three options
available to you You’ll see how to sign ‘hello’ What does ‘hello’ mean? And then there’s a pop-up which
gives you the explanation And the third option is if you need to browse
the dictionary So once you send that message
for ‘hello’ that’s what will
come back to you Also at the very bottom You can do the browser and the pop-up will come up and it will give you that just
as the demo is showing Give you different explanations At the very far end
is a small icon If you link on it it will show you the meaning of the words again,
the definition So now It’s explaining how you browse
the dictionary You’re saying ‘hello’ the video and then click on ‘hello’ the
word and it gives you the pop-up that you’re seeing below For example, if you say
‘brother’ Click on it and
it explains again what it means It always sends a video Like I said, it’s available on
Facebook messenger Now I like to talk about my
technical journey of my project how I started until now now that I have this Sex
eLimu app I shall explain the challenges and experiences I will start off with
my background My primary education
was here in Kenya But in high school I didn’t complete my high school I went only half-way and I decided if I stayed until the end,
which is usually four years or go to America So I really debated on it I decided to go to America
to further my studies So I went to a college in Ameria where they had a programme
for the Deaf and the other deaf
students were there But I was the only deaf
student from Africa So they were teaching us
about maths and English courses After that class It was you know, getting the
statistics, it wasn’t easy you know, like mathematics How do people get 100 per cent? So I was telling them that you know basically from my
education experience in Africa we always learn English and maths as well So that helped me to relate
to all the college studies I used to really see how the
college will these ideas I believe fared wel
in it and also I was advising other
students on how to continue on
advanced class and when they give me an exam they ask me if I want to
use the technical writing or and when I did that using the system that they had I was able to pass and they saw that I was very good at the maths and they said that you you shouldn’t be with the
deaf students you need to be educated
and join the hearing class because, you know, my experience in Kenya and then I moved to America And I was trying to understand how will I be targetted in a hearing class and I’m the only deaf person they said you shouldn’t worry because you’ll have
the interpreter there to facilitate checking the
communication with the lecturer and I said, that’s fine So, I went and joined the hearing class and the maths teacher will talk and the interpreter wanted to find out
who is the deaf person? and I said, it’s myself and so we started working toget
with the interpreter and the lecturer and they made sure that if I did not understand
anything I shall raise up my hand and ask or we go to the office
for one hour and discuss with the lecturer to help me understand
things clearer So after the exams I passed and then my first language that
I learned in programming is C++ again, I was the only
deaf student in a hearing class and this language C++ is usually the basic, you know Like how to code I was really interested
in learning the other languages where I could code different things so from there I finished the programming and then I transferred to university and I continued with my
computer science studies also there they had a
deaf programme those interpretation
services they offered But the class I joined Again, I was the only
deaf person in the midst of all the
hearing students but the interpreter was there during my computer
science studies so I was learning all these
new languages for coding I did learn the C++ But when I transferred I had
to start learning Java language and the comparison I preferred Java language to C++ And I continued to learn
how to write the codes and my team for the project in class we were grouped in different tes for discussion then you have to come up
with a project So we started micro We had come up with a project a specific project
until graduation they gave us homework that focuses on English development so that was our project and we needed to know the
requirements what technicalities are involved my project team the lecturer himself
had given us all the topics but in the final project before initially all of us are
given the different topics but in your final project
you had to choose your project name so we sat down with my team and thought of what to do and I looked at around the world how all resources are available
for the hearing community but for the Deaf, or the
disability generally,
there is nothing so I came back to my
project team and I explained when you’re looking at Google when you’re searching for
something through Google it gives you the words for the hearing it’s fine but why not let’s do
something for the Deaf so the Deaf can also be included And since I’ve always been
working with interpreters the interpreter was able
to explain my idea to the project team who were
very happy with that So that’s what we did So I said why not have ASL Google? ASL means American Sign Language and the lecturer was like,
wow, okay that’s nice if that’s your project name then I approve So my project team we said meeting, discussing which language would we choose e which technical things will we need how do we do the videos? where will they be saved
or kept stored? but we finalised on everything
and it was very successful and it worked well using the web and my class we did the presentation and who presented it?
Myself and the lecturer was there and all the students. They were
commending all the That was our final project We passed with flying colours I graduated And everything was done I did two more months until my graduation in America I was looking for a job Because I didn’t find a job I decided You know what? Let me come back
to Kenya So what I did In those three months I was
searching for a job before I
came back to Kenya And then I saw ICT authority were having an
initiative programme for a grant so I said, why not? I applied So this was KSL,
Kenyan Sign Language Because in Africa we don’t have
anything online for sign languae So I came back to Kenya
to develop because at least in America it was my experience
in how to do coding for American Sign Language so I came back home and then I waited for them to announce who won
the grant after the application When they announced I looked at
the computer and I read It was only company name
that has won and I had applied as an
individual so I said, okay fine, my name ie so what I did is I still continued
developing the app web developing at home I still continued that on and on for one year I found a job as well here
in Kenya There was a second grant,
a second cycle which was open at the same place this time I applied before I had applied as
an individual So what I did is I applied as
a company But choosing the same idea on
KSL which is Kenyan Sign
Language So the board partner was there and they were shocked when they
were doing the interview process when they came there they said you’re deaf, yes. who developed this app? And I said, me Which language did you use? And I explained everything And I answered all
their questions What happened is during the afternoon session it was the individual interviews so again I came back so the morning session was for
the company and the team and again in the afternoon I am
back for the individuals and the board again were really
really very surprised When they announced who won
the grants I had won both in the individual and the company category The company won a bigger grant and as an individual the grant
was a bit smaller I started developing the web app as an individual and
as the company and I finished everything everything was good As you can see that diagram
below on my slide was my first
development but later I didn’t know how to either
use or develop the Android Never, just use the web app So I had to research
how to do that because you know in Africa we got later the Android phone I had to research how
do I merge my skills? with Java so people can also
access the app on the Android phones so that’s how I started
developing KSL finger spelling app so it’s both a webapp
and on Android The picture on my slide that
is what I developed KSL finger spelling I have participated in
different challenges the first I participated in Google Cloud Developer
Challenge in the year 2013 But this needed my technical It needed a Google app It needed a Google developer So what I did is I was chosen as a finalist in
that challenge The second one was the
Africa Android Challenge in 2014 There was welcoming
any initiative app So what I did I developed the
KSL finger spelling
so I just entered that They chose it as the
best original idea The third challenge I joined
was for the Oxford Dictionaries So before I developed the bot
you have seen in the demo And I looked at
all these competitions And I said this is good for me because I already have the app but how I am able to
access the data like how does the word mean? So I started researching I said, you know researching how to merge the words with a dictionary and trying to get the data so that’s what had happened and I was successful because
I found that Oxford dictionary
had that for me to use and now I have the Sex eLimu app and I will develop
the bot later on So in 2017 last year I never developed a bot before I always see them doing
adverts on the website And I felt I won’t be able to dt One month later I looked at a certain advert I wanted to do a bit of research and discover how
is that possible? I knew that Since I developed KSL
Finger Spelling why not just see how to code ths In one week I was done I did that just before
the deadline I presented it I was chosen again as a finalist I feel like when I showed you
the demo how you can send a word and then it can bring up the
video which is really
good for me For the Sex eLimu How did I start this? UNFPA and Nailab the two partnered together they started an accelerator
programme called I Am So they’re looking for SRH solutions that are based with the
youth of the community My team we looked at it and felt how do we solve the challenges
for the deaf youth? because many deaf youth cannot
access sexual reproductive heal
information services there are a lot of
barriers on information because we don’t have any words in sign language For us We’ve never seen this
specifically for sexual
reproductive health maybe there’s sign language
for different things but for sexual reproductive
health in Kenya there’s nothing What we did is we went to Nailab we gave our presentation and they were, like, this
idea is very good Many people had presented we were one of the four
to be the start-ups that were chosen for the sexual
reproductive health So, Nailab which is an accelerator program
for start-ups we were there for three months
where they trained us mentored us they gave us free space working space for
those three months in the training they taught us
how we can develop,
how to market how to identify
your users for the app the back end, the front end you need to know all that, also how to measure your key metric success how many Deaf?
how many hearing people have downloaded?
How many users to you have? So what we did is we had basic sign language
reproductive health services because in Kenya when you look at the words that are available sometimes
you don’t know what
that word means I decided to use the
Oxford Dictionary It has an easier way to explain and then match it with the video of the signs So is what I had done with the app as you
see it in the demo Now I have joined the Oxford
Dictionary competition and I’ve seen how the Sex eLimu app we
developed matched with the API so that’s what I did, I appliedt and they said that this is the
best communicator tool and now, what I want to do is develop the Sex eLimu bot which is now in the process and
I hope I will do so this year my focus is on the back end,
to develop everything so once everything is up and
running for Android the web and the bot, all three I want them to be working just focussing on one thing I also want the data to be ready So I can focus on those
three channels which is also in the process so the four things I wish I
knew before I won the grant the first the business and revenue model when I won my first grant the gave me the money but I had the idea as well I wanted to develop the
KSL Finger Spelling I developed it and it was done but how to sell it? how to market it?
how to register users? I didn’t have a clue of how to do that so I missed the key on how to know the
number of users I have how many people are
visiting the web I didn’t know how to do
all that, the costs and later when I did the
Android app in sign language when I was in America I had seen how people
will really benefit financially from the
busines revenue model but when I got back to Kenya and I started my
Android app the registration of users I found that in Kenya that they do not accept you to sell the app,
I need to give it for free which made me get stuck so maybe through
the use of adverts I could earn my money the second thing I
wish I knew was how to get the specific
mentor and investor When I started the
Sex eLimu in Nailab They had mentors for us, they ed who is your user? be specific, who is
your target market? how many people are
using it every day? really explain everything how to market so I before I just developed I presented the idea and
applied for it that’s it or put it in the
Play store but then people download it but now really understanding
that you have to have the matrix it was really good for me that I understood that
the matrix was important that thing I wish I knew was the traction for
my start-up so initially I didn’t how to once you have new users how do you get the new
numbers coming in do you don’t have the same■
people downloading on day one and also on month and week how do you grow the
percentage of your market? I missed that information
because I hadn’t learned that earlier but now I understand
to do that like if I have a problem maybe there’s an error maybe who are your
phone users? Android? is it high-end
or low-end phones? if they have a problem what can happen? how do you fix it
so it can work well? so for example, the app
that I use who uses it more? the hearing
people or the deaf people? who my customers
really are? so this is key who my target market is? before it wasn’t important I just applied for the
idea for the grant but right now I understand that my users are for the Deaf but I also need to understand
who is it for? since it is also open both
for the hearing and the Deaf and the fourth thing is API
why? before I developed the start-up how to develop the Sex eLimu app it took a long time An Android phone has an API it’s faster to design and
develop and the time taken
is very short also, the Oxford Dictionary
is ready so it’s not a must for me
to really get a book and start copying the
words and coding no, Oxford Dictionaries already
have an API that is a match
with my with my programme.
So that is what I wish I knew And now, I want to thank you all
for viewing and for listening to my presentation I also want to thank Silvia
my interpreter for interpreting I now welcome any
questions you may have I just wanted to say a
big thank you to Hudson and to yourself for interpreting it was a very interesting
presentation it was really fascinating
to learn about the journey that took him
to develop Sex eLimu and the bot and everything that went
behind the scenes in it It was really really interesting Thank you very much.
I hope you enjoyed presenting I hope you, Silvia, enjoyed
interpreting the presentation and we do have a few questions
we got through the chat so if Hudson can step
back into the camera I will start reading
the questions The first question
that we’ve got here is was it very difficult to
make a translation tool without having access
to a bilingual dictionary? (the API has a Swahili data set
but not a Kenyan
Sign Language one) Yes, that’s true So the challenge for
the translation was that, yes because I’ve seen that the
English words and Swahili words but we don’t have a Swahili word to change to English or
the English to Swahili so what I was focussing on
was KSL, the Kenyan Sign
Language which we don’t have There’s no information on
the internet so that’s why we used we started with the videos
of the signs of the words so we have the words
with the sign so, I don’t know, maybe in
the future we can see
how we can have Kenyan Sign Language
and other sign languages so that’s it not only for
customers in Kenya So the next question I’ve
got here is You kind of covered it in your
presentation so it’s more
like if you have any other comments which
you have to add to this but the question was what made you decide to make an
app specific to sexual health? The reason why I did this focussing on the sexual
reproductive health is that I have seen in Africa there is no app or
book or materials that’s available in
sign language also, the doctors, the medical
care people, the
nurse, get stuck whenever deaf people
come to visit and they want to get information
about sexual reproductive
health services about AIDS, HIV, condoms,
you know, just the basic so that’s what I saw and I
decided that maybe I should just
focus on developing that app which is the first one Also, in other competitions
whenever they have the challenges, whenever they
ask for initiatives and this was for UNFPA I decided maybe this could really identify with them how we can help the Deaf not only the Deaf but also the medical practitioners we
have in our healthcare system on how to communicate with the f Thank you Okay, thank you The next question is How many people
are using Sex eLimu? The app when I started it was two years ago so, it was a slow process
of developing right now the downloads
are about 1,300 downloads Alright, that’s quite impressive My other question is How did you first begin to
promote it? The question doesn’t specify but I imagine it refers to the
app once it was ready not when you are looking
for grants So I imagine it was once you
had completed the work on it how you first started
promoting it When the initiative when I participated and I
won the grant for the accelerator for the
three month programme like I mentioned in my
presentation NAILAB and UNFPA had
partnered and they had and they had a schedule of how
we can do the mentorship and once that was done what I did is, now that
my app was ready I put it on Play store also, in the web also I used Facebook as well so that is how I was able
to slowly get it out there that’s how the number of people
who have been downloading like I mentioned.
So that is how I just started. Okay, thank you. The last question which I
can see for now is What was the most difficult
aspect of the app to integrate
on your code? That is a good question I think the hardest thing is
developing the back end It was quite a challenge For example, how to write
the code to be be specific to focus on
Android phone which worked well later then we have a new,
for the bot you know, the language
is different so how to extract the
information, for example the bot has a limited
capacity message you can only do 160 characters so I couldn’t transfer
all of them in order to sort of traction so this was a real challenge
for me on how to do that so I didn’t so a sort of cut and put them in another one and
another sort of code like that also, when the bot was finished
I had to come back and
change everything you know it was very
sensitive because you what I did was to copy it
somewhere differently and change it so I didn’t want to disturb it
and have a conflict so that was the challenge
I faced so for this year what I
want to do is have one code for all,
not just have two separate codes like I explained, copying
somewhere separately to do the changes and then bring it back again.
So I want to have one. Okay, thank you. There was another question
that came in just now You more or less started
mentioning your plans
for this year but the question is are there plans for further
development to the app? Yes. I plan in the future to further develop the app so like the Sex eLimu I’ve said I need to
develop a bot as well I think in the future I plan to
develop a special learning app that is specific for the
deaf people like for there and school deaf going children where both the deaf child
and the teacher can learn so I can develop for the
teacher how they can be able
to give homework for the deaf child and how
they can learn together so that it can be an equal
learning systerm
because right now that’s not the case in
our Kenyan context and as I can tell you Africa there are many many materials
for the hearing people but we always sideline
the deaf people we don’t have also materials
in closed captions so it’s good for me to see how
to develope apps that can give opportunity to Deaf especially
in our education system Thank you, that sounds
really interesting I might get you to present on
that when it’s done These are all the questions
we’ve got for now If you think of any questions
you didn’t ask during
the webinar and you still want to ask Hudson please put the questions
on the forum I’m sure he’ll be happy to
answer the questions there And for now I just wanted to say, again,
a big thank you to Hudson
and Silvia and to everyone who attended the
presentation I hope
you enjoyed it I know I enjoyed it very much So thank you everyone and from us, for now, goodbye.

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