On November 20, VGTC organised a lecture and workshop about "language police or not?". Hundreds of Flemish signers gathered for this. Our communication team also took this opportunity to inform the public about the SignON project. Then we did a small survey among the deaf Flemish signers to find out what they think about the project. Curious about their opinions? Watch our video report!

Did you also see the news about the sign language avatar for the 2022 winter Olympics in China? The sign language avatar will be on display for the first time during the Winter Olympics in February. The avatar can understand the sports reporters and presenters, and convert that commentary into sign language

We'd love to hear your thoughts on this!


On November 4, Jorn Rijckaert, SignOn's communications manager, gave a lecture during an internal seminar for our consortium. In his lecture Jorn covered several topics, such as the historical oppression of sign languages and deaf culture, and deaf emancipation. His lecture aimed to raise awareness among all partners involved in the project. This is essential since a part of the deaf community is resisting automatic translation from spoken language to sign languages, and vice versa, using 3D avatars. Jorn explained where this resistance stems from, to help everyone involved have a better understanding of this attitude towards the project.

The SignON team are driven by listening to what the (potential) users want. V0.1 of the SignON mobile phone App was tested internally. Feedback from this evaluation & responses from round 1 of the co-creation process were used to develop v0.2 for both Android and Apple phones.

VGTC (the Flemish Sign Language Centre) is the centre of knowledge and expertise on Flemish SignLanguage (VGT). It wants to increase, spread and implement knowledge about VGT through collaboration between sign language experts, the Deaf community and professionals in the field in order to increase the social acceptance of VGT and sign language users.

VGTC is hiring a media and communication officer (50% FTE) to work on the European SignON project (www.signon-project.eu). The project is coordinated by Dublin City University (Ireland) and aims to develop a mobile solution for automatic translation between sign languages and spoken/written languages. At present the focus is on the Irish, British, Dutch, Flemish and Spanish sign languages and English, Irish, Dutch and Spanish spoken/written languages. The consortium brings together a total of 17 European partners of which VGTC is responsible for communication, dissemination and exploitation of the project.

Job description

  • You will join the SignON project team and, together with the project coordinator within VGTC, take care of the implementation of the communication plan.
  • You will contribute to the publicity and reputation of SignON.
  • You will manage the communication via our website, newsletters and social media channels by keeping them up-to-date at all times.
  • You will film and edit the videos for SignON.
  • You will help organise and take part in SignON seminars, workshops and events.
  • You will work in a team with both VGTC colleagues and external SignON partners.


  • You have an excellent knowledge of English and International Sign.
  • You have a bachelor’s degree, preferably in media and/or communication, or similar by experience.
  • You are able to work independently and to define your priorities.
  • You are comfortable speaking in front of large groups or in front of a camera.
  • You have an understanding of the wishes and needs of the deaf community.
  • You support the mission and vision of VGTC.
  • You are a team player and are open to a sign language working environment.
  • You have skills in filming and editing sign language videos.
  • You are experienced with Adobe Premiere Pro and other Adobe programmes.
  • You have good social media skills including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.


  • You are available immediately.
  • You can immediately work independently because there is a minimum induction period.
  • You are domiciled in Belgium.


  • You start with a half-time contract of fixed duration (1 year) with the possibility of extension until the end of 2023, depending on the needs of the project.
  • Your salary is in accordance with the Joint Committee (PC 329.01) and depends on your educational background.
  • You will be working in Antwerp and/or Ghent, occasional work from home is possible.

Please send your application by e-mail to info@vgtc.be. The email should include a motivated
application in International Sign (maximum 3 minutes) and a CV. You can also use this email address
for questions about the vacancy. For more information about VGTC, see also www.vgtc.be.

The closing date for submitting your application is Monday 6 September 2021. Interviews with the
selected candidates will take place in the week of 27 September 2021.

On Friday 9th July 2021 the 31st Meeting of Computational Linguistics in the Netherlands took place. A team from SignON presented a poster titled “The SignON project: a Sign Language Translation Framework”. SignON also hosted a booth there with support from TaalUnie. It was a nice virtual experience! #CLIN31

We are happy to announce the First International Workshop on Automatic Translation for Sign and Spoken Languages. Read more

Our communication team had a productive meeting with the communication team of our sister project EASIER to discuss how we can cooperate during the lifetimes of our projects. For more information on EASIER, see www.project-easier.eu/

The SignON project officially started on the 1st January 2021. The kick-off meeting took place on the 21st of January 2021. Due to COVID restrictions the meeting was held online over Zoom.

The SignON project has received Horizon 2020 funding of €5.6M. SignON is a 3-year project led by ADAPT at DCU to address the communication gap between users of spoken languages and deaf sign language users.

The SignON EU consortium of 17 European partners led by Prof. Andy Way, Professor of Computing at Dublin City University, Ireland (coordinator), and Dr. Dimitar Shterionov Assistant Professor in Cognitive Science and Artificial Intelligence at Tilburg University, The Netherlands (scientific lead), have received this award to conduct state of the art research and develop a mobile solution for automatic translation between sign and oral (written and spoken) languages.

SignON is a user-centric and community-driven project that aims to facilitate the exchange of information among deaf and hard of hearing, and hearing individuals across Europe targeting the Irish, British, Dutch, Flemish and Spanish Sign and English, Irish, Dutch, Spanish oral  languages. There are 5,000 deaf Irish Sign Language (ISL) signers; in the UK around 87,000 deaf signers use British Sign Language (BSL); in Flanders, Belgium some 5,000 deaf people use Flemish Sign Language (VGT); there are approximately 13,000 signers using Sign Language of the Netherlands (NGT); and it is estimated that there are over 100,000 Spanish Sign Language (LSE) signers.

Through collaboration with these European deaf and hard of hearing communities,  researchers will define use-cases, co-design and co-develop the SignON service and application.  The objective of the research project is the fair, unbiased and inclusive spread of information and digital content in European society.

The SignON communication service will be more than an advanced machine translation system. Behind the scenes, SignON will incorporate sophisticated machine learning capabilities that will allow (i) learning new Sign and oral languages; (ii) style-, domain- and user-adaptation and (iii) automatic error correction, based on user feedback. To the user, SignON will deliver signed conversations via a life-like avatar built with latest graphics technologies.

To ensure wide uptake, improved sign language detection and synthesis, as well as multilingual speech processing for everyone, the project will deploy the SignON service as a smart phone application running on standard modern devices. While the application is designed as a light-weight interface, the SignON framework, will be distributed on the cloud where the computationally intensive tasks will be executed.

Speaking about the project Prof Andy Way says:

When I first worked on sign language MT 15 years ago, the field was very small.  In 2022, we will see a special issue of the Machine Translation journal appearing dedicated to this topic. Now that ISL is a fully-fledged official language in Ireland, it is great to see this work continuing to thrive. I am pleased to coordinate the SignON project, which will develop a free, open application and framework for conversion between video (capturing and understanding Sign language), audio and text and translation between Sign and spoken languages.” 

The SignON project will commence on 01/01/2021 and the consortium are currently recruiting a wide range of experts in the fields of Natural Language Processing (NLP) Machine Learning (ML) , Deep Learning (DL), Machine Translation (MT)  Linguistics, Deaf studies, education, 3D graphics and others to join the SignON team.

For more details, please contact Dr Dimitar Shterionov at d.shterionov@tilburguniversity.edu

About SignON

SignON is a user-centric and community-driven project that aims to facilitate the exchange of information among Deaf, hard of hearing and hearing individuals across Europe, targeting the Irish, British, Dutch, Flemish and Spanish sign as well as the English, Irish, Dutch and Spanish spoken languages.
This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under Grant Agreement No. 101017255.