One of my hearing aid patients in St. Petersburg introduced me to Dee Collins and her husband Shawn. They are developing animated software tool that will help people around the world to translate the bible into their local sign language. Shawn is an animator by trade and decided to quit his job in Northern California to use his skills to serve the Lord full time. He is now the project manager, currently working on developing WordSign; a software program, which, when completed will assist others to edit for video stories and Bible translation work for deaf people. He is currently working with a full time programmer and colleague in Ireland. Recently, WordSign has been accepted into the Microsoft Kinect 2.0 development program.
Dee shared this information with me. Currently, there are 225 different signed languages in the world and, Shawn and she think there will be closer to 400, once survey work is complete. There is no complete sign language Bible in the entire world. Deaf people are often an oppressed and forgotten group. In some countries, they are told “faith comes by hearing and since you cannot hear, you have no rights to Christ.” Additionally, middle-eastern Deaf are not allowed to show their face on video and speak of Christ. They cannot move forward until there are programs that can help these teams finish their work. For many reasons it is nearly impossible for a deaf person to consistently be available, memorize scripture and sign on camera daily. Deaf people are often scrutinized by others, including their peers. Editing in traditional camera work is long and tedious, often taking months just to finish one passage.
Shawn and Dee also teach Bible stories, set up computers in deaf communities, organize and train leadership, set up conferences for different deaf communities to come together and discuss the best methods of sign language Bible translation. You can contact Shawn Dee for more information or help the WordSign project at