Vacancy Scientific researcher automatic translation of sign language


Ghent University is a world of its own. Employing more than 8,000 people, it is actively involved in education and research, management and administration, as well as technical and social service provision on a daily basis. It is one of the largest, most exciting employers in the area and offers great career opportunities. With its 11 faculties and more than 80 departments offering state-of-the-art study programmes grounded in research in a wide range of academic fields, Ghent University is a logical choice for its staff and students.

Your tasks

Access to information is a human right. In a globalised world, this means: communication across language barriers. Approximately one in a thousand people in the EU communicate through one of the 31 Sign languages used in Europe. Because most hearing people do not know any sign language, communication between hearing and deaf people is not always obvious.

In the EU-funded SignON project, we are developing a translation app that will eventually be able to translate sign language (in both directions) between 5 European sign languages and 4 European spoken/written languages. This project is unique because all developments are done in close collaboration with the end users.

Concretely, we are using (a.o.) deep neural networks that have been developed for this application. In the last year of the project, we need to integrate the contributions by different partners and re-train our best models on multiple datasets. In order to support this, we are looking for someone who has the technical skills to help our researchers with some of the more practical tasks:

  • Manipulation and preprocessing of video data sets in Python
  • Re-training or fine-tuning existing deep neural networks
  • Integration of UGent components with those of other partners and testing
  • Systematic comparison and analysis of model errors
  • Facilitate and (optional) guise the evaluation of project results by the end users (sign language translators will be available if needed)
  • Collaborate towards the final demonstration of project results

What we are looking for

  • You hold a Master’s degree or a thesis-based doctorate in a domain related to informatics or computer science.
  • You are fluent in Python programming and have experience with data manipulation
  • You are familiar with common tools such as Linux command line and Git
  • Your work is precise and systematic
  • You can plan your work and respect deadlines
  • You like to work in a team and towards concrete goals
  • You can communicate fluently in written English
  • You are motivated to contribute to facilitate the communication between deaf and hearing people with the help of artificial intelligence

What we can offer you

  • We offer you a contract of definite duration for the period of at most 13 months (the contract will start as soon as possible and can run no longer than the end date of the project, i.e. Dec. 31st 2023).
  • Your contract will start on 1/12/2022 at the earliest.
  • Your remuneration will be determined by salary scale WM1 to WM4 (if you hold a Master’s degree) or salary scale PD1 to PD4 (if you hold a doctorate). Click here for more information about our salary scales.
  • All Ghent University staff members enjoy a number of benefits, such as a wide range of training and education opportunities, 36 days of holiday leave (on an annual basis for a full-time job) supplemented by annual fixed bridge days, bicycle allowance and eco vouchers. Click here for a complete overview of all the staff benefits (in Dutch).


Apply via email to

Your application must include the following documents (pdf files only):

  • CV
  • Cover letter: your application letter in pdf format
  • Diploma: a transcript of the required degree (if already in your possession). If you have a foreign diploma in a language other than our national languages (Dutch, French or German) or English, please add a translation in one of the mentioned languages.

As Ghent University maintains an equal opportunities and diversity policy, everyone is encouraged to apply for this position. We would be particularly happy to find someone who masters sign language or has a close relation to a deaf community.

More information

For more information about this vacancy, please contact Prof. Joni Dambre (, +32(0)9/2643409).