Here's how a new app is helping the hearing impaired use sign language via text message

With new mobile keyboard app Signily, American Sign Language speakers no longer have to worry about their messages being lost in translation. 

Created by American Sign Language nonprofit ASLized!, the Signily keyboard lets users send text messages and emails using specific ASL emoji, BuzzFeed reported.  

“Most of us in the deaf community use text messaging or email to communicate back and forth to each other,” explained a Signily representative in an introductory video. “And oftentimes, we’ve noticed that is not 100% equivalent to American Sign Language.” 

Here’s a look at some of the signs available on the keyboard app.


Perhaps more crucially, Signily also includes animated signs for many popular ASL phrases that don’t have exact English translations. This makes texting a more natural experience for signers. 

For example, BuzzFeed notes where a hearing person might say “um,” American Sign Language has a specific sign used to pause speech. 

This is what the sign looks like in a text message with Signily.

Like iOS emoji, the keyboard’s signs come in different skin tones for users to choose from. Signily also has a profanity free option for users looking for a more G-rated experience. 

Members of the deaf community are already buzzing about the keyboard, including Nyle DiMarco, America’s Next Top Model’s first deaf contestant

Not everyone is quite so excited, though. Android users will have to hold on a bit longer to use Signily on their devices. 


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