Our reviewers evaluate products and services based on unbiased research. Top Consumer Reviews may earn money when you click on a link. Learn more about our process.
Wednesday, May 18th
The ASL App is the creation of Ink & Salt LLC, a deaf-owned and operated company that specializes in digital publishing and creative productions. The company's goal is to "create connections between the non-signing community and the signing community" , and the app uses a dozen signers from a wide variety of backgrounds to give you exposure to many different ASL users as you learn. In 2021, The ASL App received a Webby Awards nomination and was ranked among the top 10% in the People's Choice category.
Easy to use on the fly
For anyone that wants to learn sign language on the go, The ASL App could be a solid fit. It's even designed to be used one-handed, so that you can hold your phone in one hand and sign with the other if you're trying to communicate with a deaf person. As you use the app, you can save any signs that you want to remember to practice (or any favorites), and the video can be paused or rewound if you need extra time or to see something a second time.
Free and paid content
The ASL App has a fair amount of free content you can access by downloading it to your mobile phone: just visit the app store for your specific device. You'll get basics like Universal Gestures, Handshape Exercises, Colors, and several other topics. You can also pay for $0.99 downloads of content on topics like Family Signs, or with a one-time fee of $9.99 you'll get the entire library.
Very mixed feedback from app users
Unfortunately, users seem to have a love-hate relationship with The ASL App. On the Google Play Store alone, the five-star raves were dead even with the one-star rants and just a handful of 2- to 4-star ratings in the middle. Fans of the app say that it's fun and easy to use, and that it provides a great value. On the other hand, negative reviews frequently mention glitches in both the free and paid content, too many downloads, and less-than-intuitive controls.
Even more questions
Even more troublesome were the handful of comments we found from users claiming to have advanced knowledge of ASL (like interpreters and so on) that said many of the signs featured on The ASL App were off or flat-out incorrect. In any language, that's no bueno. And, as far as we can tell, there's no way to get your money back if you've paid for the downloadable content - short of filing a complaint with the Apple App Store or Google Play or a dispute with your credit card company (but you shouldn't hold your breath on either of those).
Not much support
We're also not sure how much support you'll get with your app on either platform. On The ASL App's social media channels, it seems like the company earned their Webby Award and then promptly disappeared: there are no more posts on their Facebook account, the site link to their YouTube page is broken, and their Instagram and Twitter feeds were only slightly more active but still not posted to on a consistent basis.
Don't pay until you've used the free version a while
For all of these reasons, we think your best bet is to try The ASL App strictly for the free content. Use it for several weeks (or longer) and see if you encounter any of the technical problems mentioned by other people. By then, you'll have a clearer idea how this app works and whether or not it feels right for your needs. Granted, $9.99 is pretty cheap no matter how you look at it (especially compared with other sign language lessons that charge you by the month), but take the time to see if this service actually functions properly before buying full access.
Whether you're interested in connecting with people in the Deaf community, trying to communicate with a non-verbal child, or facing hearing loss yourself, you're in good company. It's estimated that over 500,000 people in the US and Canada use American Sign Language (ASL).
If you're hoping to learn to sign, it's important to choose lessons that teach not just the signs themselves but also about Deaf culture and the differences between ASL and English. (It surprises many people when they learn that they don't correspond in a 1:1 fashion. In fact, ASL often uses a completely different word order, and facial expressions are a critical component of using ASL fluently.
Sign language lessons that include different instructors can help you see that individuals often have their own unique way of signing - just like someone from the South has a spoken accent that's very distinct from a New Yorker. Going back to the question of where to learn ASL, it might be possible to find classes nearby at a community college or even a library. Will they fit your schedule? Your budget?
Maybe, maybe not. Fortunately, there are many providers of sign language lessons online that let you study at your own pace, any time of day or night. (And hey, unlike other language lessons, you don't have to worry about disturbing people as you practice ASL in a quiet public place!)
What should you look for as you choose where to take sign language lessons through the internet? Here are some suggestions that can help you narrow down the options:
TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best Sign Language lessons available today. We hope these reviews help you open new doors of communication as you learn to sign fluently in ASL right away!
Select any 2 Sign Language Lessons to compare them head to head
University of ...
In U of T’s new ASL course, students learn to sign – and better ...
... American Sign Language (ASL) at the University of Toronto, she realized that language would be only one of the many things she’d be learning. That’s because in instructor David Wiesblatt’s class, ...
Mon, 16 May 2022
Kern Valley Sun
The Making of a Guru Part 3 Sign Language, Wedding Bells and Hello ...
While at our local junior college, Saddleback, she enrolled in classes in American Sign Language (ASL). This later became a blessing when my brother Michael lost his hearing. That’s another story for ...
Tue, 17 May 2022