Frequently Asked


Welcome to Sign-Speak's FAQ, where we address some of your most pressing questions about our goals and offerings

Sign-Speak is a forward-thinking AI research and product startup with a core goal: to create AI solutions that empowers Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals to interact freely, with our community autonomy at the core of all of what Sign-Speak does.

Our sense of urgency stems from the recognition of the historical exclusion of Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals from mainstream tech advancements. Every day without accessible AI tools widens the existing equity gap. That is why we prioritize continuous improvement through early community feedback and partnerships. To keep in touch with us, follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, and X.

Our Commitment:

We have been developing tech-enabled solutions for the past 8 years. Sign-Speak is committed to evolving and expanding our impact within the community. Our goal is to make sign language recognition as widespread as voice recognition. We are dedicated to ensuring that our community gains more skills and has increased access to opportunities.

At Sign-Speak, we prioritize collaboration with the Deaf and Hard of Hearing communities to provide tools tailored to their needs. Our key offerings include:

- Sign Language Recognition: Converts sign language into text or voice.

- Sign Language Avatar: Translates voice into sign language.

- Captioning: Converts voice into text.

We understand from personal experiences that accessibility needs vary within the D/HH community, ranging from reliance on sign language to captioning or a mix of both. Our goal is to offer a comprehensive tool that addresses these diverse communication needs.

Sign-Speak aims to complement by being a tool, not replacing interpreters. Our tools serve as empowerment for Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals in situations where interpreters are unavailable. We envision a world where AI innovations benefit everyone, including our community, ensuring that Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals can access products and services on par with their hearing counterparts.

Challenges We Aim to Address:

- We pay the same for products and services, but we do not currently get to experience them in the same way. We aim to provide equivalent usability by having sign language activation in all of these products.

- Interpreter shortages and the need for quick communication solutions.

- The desire for sign language recognition to facilitate efficiency in various tasks (ability to sign your notes, being able to caption sign video faster etc).

The Sign-Speak team was born from a shared vision to revolutionize communication, driven by Nikolas (Niko) Kelly's personal experiences. Witnessing the lack of accessibility for himself and the community, Nikolas, while at the National Technical Institute of the Deaf, recognized the stark contrast in interpreter access between NTID/RIT and the broader world.

This realization prompted him to question the discrepancies in service and product accessibility. Determined to make a difference, Nikolas recruited Nicholas Wilkins and Yamillet Payano to co-found an AI company focused on sign language recognition. This endeavor aimed to provide Nikolas and our community with another avenue for access.

Last year we've welcomed Brian Hertneky, a seasoned Deaf entrepreneur and marketing expert, adding invaluable expertise to our team.

Composed of diverse backgrounds in machine learning, business, product development, and policy, our team collaborates to develop reliable, safe, and beneficial products. Explore our open roles and join us in our mission at Careers.

- Sign-Speak is offering a closed captioning or cc system to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community that will make it easier for all of us to provide accessibility by captioning our ASL videos.

- We are also developed our bidirectional automated American Sign Language (ASL) system that allows for sign language to voice and vice versa in real-time.

- We want sign language technology to be as widely spread as voice recognition, so that we finally can have functional equivalency and accessibility where there is none.

- Sign-Speak is looking at the problem from all angles and we are uniquely using the avatar, sign language recognition, and captioning in a comprehensive tool to be able to address the diversity of communication needs within our community.

- We are also approaching this from a COMMUNITY CENTRIC APPROACH. Meaning that we are committed to user feedback and iterations of our technology to make sure that the community gets a continuously better experience.

- We have an inclusive vision where we believe that we need to bring all the stakeholders in the community together to foster a culture of inclusivity, diversity, and accessibility.

- We are using 2D cameras to solve this issue so there is no special equipment needed.

We actively engage with our diverse Deaf and Hard of Hearing community across the US to gather data, ensuring the representation of regional variations and cultural nuances.

We are also committed to regular updates to our model based on community feedback to help improve the experience of our Deaf and Hard of Hearing customers over time. The more you use our products, the more the system becomes comfortable with your signs, resulting in a more tailored and personalized service.

There are many technological challenges in breaking sign language barriers, and many companies have been attempting this for years. While numerous companies have tried in the past few years, Sign-Speak is ahead of the competition. Our model doesn't just recognize a few signs; it understands the full spectrum of sign language.

We have learned from the mistakes of previous startups and implemented effective strategies to develop a highly accurate system. Through our unique process, we have achieved a level of accuracy that no other company has reached yet.

Nonetheless, we are at the start of our journey and hope that you join us for the ride. Together, we can meet the accessibility needs of all individuals who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing, empowering their autonomy.