Sign Language Documentation Training Center

The Sign Language Documentation Training Center started in 2012 after the recognition of Hawai‘i Sign Language as a separate language. Modeled on the LDTC, the SLDTC has several goals including:

  • Training Participants to document their own or others’ sign languages
  • Increasing awareness of sign language endangerment
  • Encouraging sign language conservation and revitalization
  • Working with signers to develop best practices for sign language documentation

While the format of the workshops are based off those of the LDTC, the SLDTC faces unique challenges in adapting techniques and technology developed for spoken languages to visual sign languages. Two pilot studies conducted in Spring 2013 and Spring 2014 led to the development of the current format.

During the semester, the SLDTC is conducted over 10 weeks. Workshops are conducted in both English and American Sign Language, with interpreters assisting. The sessions’ format have reformatted from the original LDTC structure to be more Deaf-friendly. With a focus on ASL and Hawai‘i Sign Language, workshops cover the following topics:

  • Why Sign Language Documentation  
  • Eliciting, Interviewing & Recording  
  • Translation & Transcription  
  • Syntax  
  • Morphology  
  • Phonetics & Phonology  
  • Language Endangerment & Conservation

Participants use the free transcription ELAN to annotate video-recorded texts with a full English transcription and translation, a full gloss, syntax, morphology, and phonology.


Publications and Presentations about the SLDTC

2016- Rarrick, Samantha and Brittany Wilson. “Documenting Hawai’i’s Sign Languages”. In Language Documentation & Conservation, Vol. 10, pp. 337-46.

2016- Fried, Jan. “2+2+2=2: The formula to make sign language documentation a success”. 32nd Annual Pacific Rim International Conference on Disability and Diversity, Honolulu, Hawai’i.

2015-  Jan Fried, Samantha Rarrick, and Brittany Wilson. “The Sign Language Documentation Training Center.” 4th International Conference on Language Documentation and Conservation, University of Hawai’i at Manoa.



at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa