Published on September 24th, 2019 | by Alex Novus
StorySign now available on iOS with an additional two new books in Australia
Today, on International Day of Sign Languages, Huawei has announced that StorySign – a literacy app for deaf children – is now available on Apple iOS and will feature two new books in Australia.
‘There’s a Dragon in Your Book’ by Tom Fletcher and ‘Ten Minutes to Bed Little Monster’ by Rhiannon Fielding have just launched in Auslan, the sign language of Australia’s deaf community.
Harnessing the power of Huawei AI technology, StorySign is a free mobile app that translates popular children’s books into the sign language to make story time possible for deaf and hard of hearing children.
With over 34 million deaf children around the world1 – including up to 400 children born deaf every year in Australia2 – and no written form of sign language, many struggle to connect sign language with the written word. This creates reading challenges and ultimately impacts literacy levels, with an overwhelming number leaving school functionally illiterate.
Huawei believes that every child should have the opportunity to enjoy and benefit from story time. In 2018, StorySign was created to make this possible, while also directly supporting the deaf community and helping to address literacy challenges.
“Working with communities around the world and Deaf Australia, we’ve been able to understand the challenge of deaf literacy and find a technological solution that makes a true difference,” said Larking Huang, Managing Director of Huawei Consumer in Australia.
“StorySign is helping to open up a realm of books to deaf children and encourage their imagination, curiosity and creativity. With more than 35,000 app downloads, we’re changing the lives of deaf children in Australia and around the world. But we don’t want to stop there, we’re committed to growing our app to ensure that all children can enjoy story time. The new books and iOS availability mark an important step towards achieving this,” said Mr Huang
Walter Ji, President of Huawei’s Western Europe Consumer Business Group, added: “At Huawei, we want to use our technology to make the world a better place – no matter where you live or what smartphone you use – whether it’s Android or iOS. 34% of the people who have downloaded the free StorySign app have become daily3 active users, which reinforces our commitment to helping more deaf children learn to read and makes us proud to continue developing and expanding StorySign.”
According to recent research by Huawei, over half of Australians (56%) are unaware that there are many different sign languages, or that literacy is an issue for children who are deaf or hard of hearing (47%)4. International Day of Sign Languages is an opportunity for governments, organisations and communities across the world to reflect on the modern-day challenges facing signed languages.
Kyle Miers, CEO of Deaf Australia, said: “The support that we have received from Huawei to date has had a genuine impact on deaf children and their families. Through our ongoing partnership, we are continuing to work closely to ensure that StorySign reaches as many families and communities as possible, helping us get one step closer to our shared ambition of helping more deaf children learn to read.”
StorySign is now available on both Android and iOS, and comes alive with Star, the app’s friendly signing avatar developed in partnership with world-class studio Aardman alongside input from experts in the deaf community. Star translates a range of popular children’s books into sign language in real-time, creating a seamless reading experience and allowing deaf children to enjoy story time.
Over the last six months, four additional avatar-signed books have been made available in the StorySign app across 11 countries* (including Australia) in 13 languages (total of 52 new books). The two most recent Auslan books are in addition to ‘Max the Brave’ by Ed Vere and ‘All About Spot’ by Eric Hill which were added to the Australian StorySign library last month, as well as already featured popular children’s book ‘Where’s Spot?’ by Eric Hill. There are now five books available in Auslan.
StorySign can now be downloaded worldwide for free from Google Play, the Huawei AppGallery and Apple App Store.
For more information on how to get involved, please visit www.storysign.com. Donations can be made via the StorySign campaign hub on the Huawei website and the ‘about’ section of the StorySign app. All money raised will support Deaf Australia’s literacy projects in Australia.