Union Government launches India’s first sign language dictionary

The Union Government has launched India’s first sign language dictionary. The dictionary has been developed with the aim of removing the communication barriers between the deaf and hearing communities.

Mar 23, 2018 13:04 IST
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The Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment, Thaawarchand Gehlot on March 23, 2018 launched the first Indian Sign Language (ISL) dictionary containing 3000 words at a function in Delhi.

The dictionary has been developed by Indian Sign Language Research & Training Centre (ISLR&TC) under Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD), Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment.


The main aim of developing the dictionary is to remove the communication barriers between the deaf and hearing communities, as it is focused on providing more information in Indian sign language.

It aims to give the deaf people the constitutional right to speech and opportunity of freedom of expression and also bring them into the mainstream of the society.

Key Highlights

• The dictionary has been launched with 3000 words as of now, however, soon many new words will be added.

• The dictionary mainly focuses on providing more information in Indian Sign Language.

• It would give a chance to people to learn the Indian Sign Language.

• It consists of various categories of words for example legal terms, medical terms, academic terms, technical terms and daily use words. The videos are subtitled.

• The English and Hindi terms for the dictionary will also help deaf children to learn English.


The main five categories of words in the ISL dictionary include:

Everyday Terms - This category includes terms that are used in everyday communication. The videos contain the sign and the corresponding English term.

Legal Terms – This category includes videos that help explain 237 legal terms, even complicated ones such as ‘affidavit’, ‘acquittal’, which are used in various legal situations.

Academic Terms - To help deaf children understand complex academic concepts, the academic dictionary contains explanations for terms like ‘nervous system’, ‘rotation’ and ‘revolution. The words are from various subjects like Physics, Geography, Biology and Maths. This category contains 229 videos for 212 terms.

Medical Terms –
This category includes 200 sign videos for 200 medical terms will help the deaf community to better understand medical terminology used in hospitals and in medical situations.

Technical Terms - This category has 206 videos of sign and explanations for 204 technical terms that are used in vocational training or in computer courses.


• The Indian Sign Language Research & Training Centre had been working on developing the Indian Sign Language Dictionary since the past one and a half years.

• As per 2011 census, there are 50, 71,007 deaf people and 19, 98,535 with speech disability in India.

• Hence, the ISL Dictionary aims to offer these people the maximum number of words, which will not only expand their learning but also help them express their feelings and ideas in a better way.

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