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Djordje Dimitrijevic: Revolutionizing Content in Sign Language

Djordje Dimitrijevic: Revolutionizing Content in Sign Language

Ladderworks is a publishing platform of diverse picture books and online curriculum with the mission to empower over a million kids to become social entrepreneurs. Our current series features interviews by our interplanetary journalist Spiffy with inspiring Social Entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Builders, and Changemakers who are advancing the UN SDGs.

Spiffy here with the scoop on the entrepreneurial leaders of Planet Earth. As the only interplanetary journalist stationed on this blue planet, I’m thrilled to present this galactic exclusive (our 700th!) with Djordje Dimitrijevic, the founder of SignAvatar. Let’s learn about what’s happening at SignAvatar and how Djordje is making a positive impact in the world.

Spiffy: Thanks for joining me, Djordje! Tell me, what challenge are you addressing through SignAvatar?

Djordje: Thanks for having me, Spiffy! SignAvatar is revolutionizing content in sign language, by turning speech into sign language using artificial intelligence. We know that there are 70 million sign language users out there who deserve content in their native language, and we aim to help deaf communities, raise awareness of them, and help them find new jobs.

Spiffy: What motivates you to do it?

Djordje: Founders of this organization recognized a big problem. A huge part of the population that is cut off from society needs help with inclusion. We've wanted to find a way to help deaf communities. With our experience in technology and artificial intelligence, we thought it would be possible to have all content in sign language automatically generated. We started speaking and meeting a lot of deaf people asking for their opinion. When we saw their reactions, and their happiness, it pushed us forward. It made us want change, and a real one. That's why we're fully committed to making the lives of deaf people better.

Spiffy: What is the impact of your work?

Djordje: SignAvatar is a software that translates speech into sign language. Our first product is called TransportSign, which enables public service information in sign language. Everything that's on a public address radio is now translated on the screens across the train stations and airports. We aim to make an all around translator that can translate everything, and with that,  enable all content on YouTube, TikTok, Instagram etc., for deaf people in their native language. This will have a huge impact on the deaf community as it will enable them to watch more educational content, have online Zoom calls, watch conferences, and similar material. Where there is speech, there is a need for sign language.

Spiffy: You’re right! Tell me about a recent organization milestone or initiative. What impact does it make on your audience or community?

Djordje: Recently we've made an agreement about the first implementation of TransportSign. In Serbia, our hometown, on all train stations, there will be public service information in sign language, enabling deaf people to travel freely. We hope to expand to other countries as well.

Spiffy: Wishing you all the best with this. Thanks for speaking with me today, Djordje—it’s been an honor!

Djordje Dimitrijevic is one of the founders of SignAvatar. He graduated from the Mathematics High School in Belgrade, and the Faculty of Electrical Engineering in Belgrade. He is proud that he started a business with a social purpose at a young age, together with best friends from high school. He believes that motivation and sincere relations with colleagues are key to achieving success, and that no business should be done without an impact on society. (First published on the Ladderworks website on September 18, 2023.)

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect those of Ladderworks LLC.

© 2023 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Shikha Tandon. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. For the Ladderworks digital curriculum to help K-3 kids advance the UN SDGs, visit Spiffy's Launchpad: Creative Entrepreneurship Workshops for K-3 Kids and their caregivers here.