SignGes - Competence Center for Sign Language and Gestures


SignGes has been conducting research in the field of sign language at the Faculty of Arts for over 20 years. The research group consists of deaf and hearing employees and thus makes an important contribution to the inclusion of people with hearing disabilities. In 2014, the research group joined forces with colleagues from gesture research at RWTH Aachen University to form the competence center SignGes - Sign language and Gesture.

SignGes Focal Points of Research and Teaching

The Competence Center SignGes works on various application-oriented, scientific projects on the topics of accessible communication and education, accessible media and didactics, vocational rehabilitation, media literacy, sign language and deaf culture.

In the field of empirical multimodality research, the interdisciplinary team investigates communicative interaction situations using multiple recording techniques. In addition to audio, video, and high-speed cameras, an optical motion capture system is used to record head, torso, hand, and arm movements in 3D gesture space with millimeter precision and in real time, and to later visualize and statistically evaluate them.

The theoretical work includes semiotic and cognitive-linguistic approaches. Tools and methods for the creation and automated analysis of multimodal corpora will be developed.

The main topics are:

  • Sign language and deaf culture
  • Accessible communication, education and didactics
  • Vocational rehabilitation and media literacy 
  • Linguistics and cognitive semiotics
  • Speech-accompanying gestures
  • Multimodal interaction in dialogue
  • 3D motion capture technology and recognition of motion patterns

SignGes Services

The SignGes Competence Center offers various services:

  • The video productions include translations of website texts, exhibition texts and navigation explanations in the form of sign language videos. The aim of these translations is to make written language information accessible for hearing-impaired people.
  • The seminar range includes further education contents derived from research and project activities of the SignGes Competence Center.
  • SignGes produces accessible documentation of events or of selected parts of conferences. This includes the recording of lectures and discussions in image and sound as well as their post-production, which includes, among other things, the insertion of subtitles and/or the insertion of sign language translations.
  • In addition, SignGes translates text contributions and audio recordings into sign language, which are then made available in the form of sign language videos.