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    About the ProSign project
ECML Programme 2012-2015

About the project "Sign languages and the Common European Framework of References for Languages"

Project results

What was the project about?

The PRO-Sign project aims to establish European standards for signed language proficiency for professional purposes, focusing specifically on sign language teaching in Deaf Studies and Sign Language Interpreting programmes. The project will provide definitions of Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) proficiency levels for signed languages and develop a sample assessment kit for signed language competency at the C1/C2 level indicating the qualification of professional interpreters.


PRO-Sign is the first and highly significant step towards the establishment of European standards for specifying proficiency levels for use in Deaf Studies and Interpreting prorgrammes offered at tertiary level.

 It entails three key goals:

  1. drawing on preliminary work hitherto undertaken in adapting the CEFR to signed languages, PRO-Sign will (for the first time) provide definitions of proficiency levels for signed languages;

  2. PRO-Sign will provide an elaboration of curricula that focus on these levels with specifications of signed language curricula for hearing learners of a national/ regional signed language; and

  3. PRO-Sign will develop a sample assessment kit for signed language competency at the C1/C2 level, which we associate with the signed language competency that demonstrates fitness to practice as a professional interpreter.

Outputs will include a set of guidelines for developing curricula and a set of teaching and learning guidelines along with an instrument that builds on the ELP for signed languages, allowing graduates of signed language interpreting programmes to easily map out their signed language competencies vis-à-vis their spoken language competencies.

This project was run within the ECML's Learning through languages programme.

Project working languages:
English and International Sign

Project term:

Target audience involved in project activities:

  • Teachers;
  • Teacher educators;
  • Curriculum developers in tertiary educational environments;
  • University level educators who practice applied linguistics and offer signed language courses at the C1/C2 level or equivalent for professional purposes;
  • International NGOs such as the European Union of the Deaf (EUD), the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD), the European Forum of Sign Language Interpreters (EFSLI) and relevant international organisations like the Conference of Interpreter Trainers as dissemination partners.


The PRO-Sign web pages result from the work of an international network established within one of the ECML projects. We would like to thank all who worked on PRO-Sign, in particular the project coordination team for their motivation and active involvement.

Project working pages

Go to the project working pages
(for registered users only)

In cooperation with the 
Moscow State Linguistic University

Project team

Lorraine Leeson

Beppie Van Den Bogaerde
The Netherlands

Christian Rathmann

Tobias Haug

Naomi Sheneman
United States

Wendy Murray Junior