StorySign, Huawei’s free mobile app created to help deaf children learn how to read, has received a prestigious Children’s BAFTA nomination. The Children’s BAFTAs (The British Academy Children’s Awards) showcase “the very best in children’s media, from programmes and films to presenters and performers, as chosen by BAFTA”.
Many of the world’s 32 million deaf children struggle to learn how to read because unlike hearing children who learn phonetically, deaf children struggle to match words with sounds. Huawei’s StorySign is a revolutionary app which translates popular children’s books into sign language using Star, the friendly signing avatar. It was developed in partnership with world-class studio Aardman, working closely with experts in the deaf community.
So far in 2019, StorySign has already been recognised with multiple awards, including 7 Cannes Lions, 2 D&AD Pencils, 8 One Show pencils including a Grand Prix, 2 Clio Awards, 3 M&M Global media wards and a Campaign Big Award. More information and the full shortlist for The Children’s BAFTAs can be found at http://www.bafta.org/children/awards/childrens-awards-nominations-and-winners-2019
Walter Ji, President of Huawei’s Western Europe Consumer Business Group, said: “At Huawei, we put people first, and we are always looking for new ways to use our technology to make the world a better place. We are committed to helping deaf children learn to read and have the chance to enjoy storytime, and we will continue to work with our StorySign partners to expand our library of books and raise awareness of the challenges deaf children face when learning to read.”
StorySign is a free mobile app that uses Huawei’s AI technology to translate popular children’s books into sign language. Launched in December 2018, the app is globally available in 14 different sign languages, including British Sign Language, French Sign Language and more recently, American Sign Language. StorySign features a total of 69 popular children’s books, including best-sellers such as Where’s Spot and Max the Brave from publishing partner Penguin Books. Huawei also recently announced the app’s availability on iOS in addition to Android, reinforcing the commitment to making StorySign available to even more families around the world.
Huawei has worked closely with experts from the deaf community, including schools, local deaf associations, The World Federation of the Deaf and The European Union of the Deaf, to continuously improve and optimise StorySign. And 34% of the people who have downloaded the app so far have become daily active users.
StorySign is just one of Huawei’s initiatives using innovative technology to make the world a better place. Other such projects include Rainforest Connection, which uses Huawei mobile phones and AI technology to help protect the rainforest from illegal logging, RuralStar which connects 700M people in rural areas, and Track AI, which uses Huawei’s AI technology to help detect early signs of visual impairment in young children.
StorySign can be downloaded worldwide for free from the Huawei AppGallery, Google Play Store and the Apple App Store.
Neil Pymer, Creative Director at Aardman: “Working with creative teams and deaf performers from around the globe to bring character ‘Star’ to life has been an incredible experience for us at Aardman. We see Star as a superhero and her superpower is being able to sign; we want children to be proud they share this unique skill and have the confidence to learn to read. Seeing the reactions of children when realising that Star signs the words in the book is something very special indeed”.
Francesca Dow, MD of Penguin Random House Children’s said: “We’re absolutely thrilled that StorySign has received a Children’s BAFTA nomination, and been recognised for such a prestigious award. We’re proud to continue our partnership with StorySign, making our stories available to deaf children around the world and helping them develop a love of reading”.
FCB Inferno Chief Creative Officer Owen Lee said: “It’s always a joy when a body as prestigious as The British Academy recognise your work. StorySign was the culmination of a huge effort from world-class partners including Huawei, Aardman Animations, Penguin Books, the European Union of the Deaf and others. What matters most of all is the feedback we are receiving from families with deaf children about the life-changing impact StorySign is having on their reading and enjoyment of books.”