Translating to and from braille

As today is the International Day of Sign Languages, I decided to explore whether GPT-3 understood, and could translate, Braille.

Applications of this could include:

  • a translator tool that could not only provide direct translations, but also generate original content, correctly formatted in Braille for use in communicating with sight-impaired folks.
  • a tool allowing sign-impaired people to prompt and receive outputs from GPT-3 in braille (via a Braille touchpad)

As I’m not a Braille user, I used a two-way Braille translator to explore potential prompts in the Playground to see what was possible.

What I found was that GPT-3 was not able to translate from, or into, Braille, even with examples.

I also wasn’t able to prompt GPT-3 using Braille. It simply didn’t understand the language, despite likely being exposed to it in its training set.

Here’s one of my prompts for anyone who wishes to tinker.

I’d welcome any examples of successful consistent prompting using Braille, or producing Braille outputs that are readable.

Also I think there’s an ethical consideration for Open.AI to include appropriate training materials for future AIs to help ensure that AI is as conversant in languages for hearing and sign-impaired people as it is in written languages.



PS: Yes I’m aware Braille isn’t a sign language, but given the available character sets GPT-3 has to accept and respond to prompts, I felt Braille would be more achieveable for GPT-3 than being able to read or write ASL or BANZSL.