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ProSign - Signed Languages for Professional Purposes

Ausgangslage und Ziele

A project of the European Centre for Modern Languages (ECML), Graz, Austria

The ProSign 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. ProSign has three key goals:

  • provide definitions of Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) proficiency levels for signed languages;
  • elaborate on curricula that focus on hearing learners of a national/ regional signed language;
  • 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.

European Centre for Modern Languages

The Externer Link: ECML ECML Website, located in Graz, Austria, is an institution of the Council of Europe. The ECML functions, in cooperation with the Language Policy Division of the Council, as a catalyst for reform in the teaching and learning of languages. It assists its stakeholders in member states in bringing language education policies and practices together.


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

More information in English and International Sign can be obtained from the Externer Link: ECML-project-website Projektwebsite Pro Signs.


  • Leeson, L., Haug, T., Rathmann, C., Van den Bogaerde, B., & Sheneman, N. (2018). The implementation of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) for signed languages in higher education – Results of an international survey (Survey report). PDF
  • Mann, W., Haug, T., Kollien, S. & Quinto-Pozos, D. (2014). Teaching signed languages. In C.A. Chapelle (Hrsg.), The Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics. Wiley. (Published online before print: doi: 10.1002/9781405198431.wbeal1436)
  • Leeson, L., Haug, T., Rathmann, C., van den Bogaerde, B. & Naomi Sheneham (2014) Commentary: Implementation of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) for Sign Languages. Deaf Studies Digital Journal, no. 4 (Spring 2014). (Available in American Sign Language and International Sign).
  • Shores, P., Martens-Wagner, J. & Kollien, S. (2013). Zwei Veranstaltungen im Rahmen des PRO-Sign-Projektes in Graz, Österreich. Das Zeichen, 94, 330-333.




Prof. Dr.  Haug

Leiter Bachelorstudiengang Gebärdensprachdolmetschen


Zentrum Forschung und Entwicklung
Tel: +41 44 317 11 46

zfe[at] zfe