Hierarchical LSTM for Sign Language Translation


  • Dan Guo Hefei University of Technology
  • Wengang Zhou University of Science and Technology of China
  • Houqiang Li University of Science and Technology of China
  • Meng Wang Hefei University of Technology




Continuous Sign Language Translation (SLT) is a challenging task due to its specific linguistics under sequential gesture variation without word alignment. Current hybrid HMM and CTC (Connectionist temporal classification) based models are proposed to solve frame or word level alignment. They may fail to tackle the cases with messing word order corresponding to visual content in sentences. To solve the issue, this paper proposes a hierarchical-LSTM (HLSTM) encoder-decoder model with visual content and word embedding for SLT. It tackles different granularities by conveying spatio-temporal transitions among frames, clips and viseme units. It firstly explores spatio-temporal cues of video clips by 3D CNN and packs appropriate visemes by online key clip mining with adaptive variable-length. After pooling on recurrent outputs of the top layer of HLSTM, a temporal attention-aware weighting mechanism is proposed to balance the intrinsic relationship among viseme source positions. At last, another two LSTM layers are used to separately recurse viseme vectors and translate semantic. After preserving original visual content by 3D CNN and the top layer of HLSTM, it shortens the encoding time step of the bottom two LSTM layers with less computational complexity while attaining more nonlinearity. Our proposed model exhibits promising performance on singer-independent test with seen sentences and also outperforms the comparison algorithms on unseen sentences.




How to Cite

Guo, D., Zhou, W., Li, H., & Wang, M. (2018). Hierarchical LSTM for Sign Language Translation. Proceedings of the AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, 32(1). https://doi.org/10.1609/aaai.v32i1.12235