Sign language is evolving in VR thanks to volunteer interpreters

VRChat has never been more wholesome.

Feb 10, 2020, 8:37 am*

Tech

Matt Silverman 

Matt Silverman

2 Girls 1 Podcast VR SIGN LANGUAGE

The Daily Dot (Licensed)

Deaf users of immersive social platforms like VRChat can face a tough time communicating. Unlike other social media, virtual reality (VR) spaces rely on verbal and physical communication rather than text. And sign language with current-gen VR controllers is limiting and clunky at best.

But groups of volunteer interpreters inside VR worlds are hard at work making sure these spaces are more welcoming and accessible for deaf users. The result is an empowering community of “Helping Hands.”

This week on 2 GIRLS 1 PODCAST, Alli and Jen speak with Quentin, a 19-year-old volunteer translator and VR enthusiast who is bridging the communication gap between deaf and hearing people in VRChat. Quentin (a hearing person) shares how and why he learned American Sign Language (ASL), the tech limitations of signing in VR, and how sign language is evolving in VR to accommodate differences between headsets and motion tracking.

Listen to episode 118 of #2G1P right here:


Special thanks to @Zazzy_chan for providing a transcript of this episode! You can read it here.

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2 Girls 1 Podcast is hosted by Allison Goldberg and Jennifer Jamula, and is produced and edited by Matt Silverman in New York City. Production assistance is provided by the Podglomerate.

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*First Published: Feb 3, 2020, 7:00 am