Skeleton Aware Multi-modal Sign Language Recognition

Sign language is commonly used by deaf or speech impaired people to communicate but requires significant effort to master. Sign Language Recognition (SLR) aims to bridge the gap between sign language users and others by recognizing signs from given videos. It is an essential yet challenging task since sign language is performed with the fast and complex movement of hand gestures, body posture, and even facial expressions. Recently, skeleton-based action recognition attracts increasing attention due to the independence between the subject and background variation. However, skeleton-based SLR is still under exploration due to the lack of annotations on hand keypoints. Some efforts have been made to use hand detectors with pose estimators to extract hand key points and learn to recognize sign language via Neural Networks, but none of them outperforms RGB-based methods. To this end, we propose a novel Skeleton Aware Multi-modal SLR framework (SAM-SLR) to take advantage of multi-modal information towards a higher recognition rate. Specifically, we propose a Sign Language Graph Convolution Network (SL-GCN) to model the embedded dynamics and a novel Separable Spatial-Temporal Convolution Network (SSTCN) to exploit skeleton features. RGB and depth modalities are also incorporated and assembled into our framework to provide global information that is complementary to the skeleton-based methods SL-GCN and SSTCN. As a result, SAM-SLR achieves the highest performance in both RGB (98.42\%) and RGB-D (98.53\%) tracks in 2021 Looking at People Large Scale Signer Independent Isolated SLR Challenge. Our code is available at

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