Online NZSL Children’s Library

Kara Technologies and the New Zealand Deaf Education Centres worked together to create a small digital library for Deaf children, translating four popular children’s books into NZSL.


Sahar Izadi from Kara Tech says:

"Our project was a collaboration between Kara Technologies and New Zealand Deaf Education Centres. We translated four popular children’s books into NZSL, thus initiating a small digital library for deaf children. The books were translated with the help of Deaf Education Centres and signed by our in-house avatar 'Niki'. The project’s intention was to increase NZSL digital resources for young learners, and explore the option of using a digital human as a signer, to see if the learners can engage with such technology (such as avatars). We also wanted to revitalise storytelling in NZSL to Deaf learners.

We were overwhelmed with how positively the learners (and the teachers) reacted to our books. They were excited to know about the technology behind the books and asked for more books (of their choice) for the future.

Thoughts from the project team:

This project promoted in-depth conversations about NZSL translations with a group of diverse NZSL users.  Individually members of Kara felt that their knowledge of NZSL had increased through the project.  “It’s been a delight seeing the team at Kara apply what they learnt (NZSL) daily. That for me, is priceless," said Zachary Best

We loved collaborating with schools and seeing great responses from the kids, seeing the students get excited during school visits and their recognition of Niki.  

Reaction from the students and teachers:

Students of all ages were involved in the project.  Children as young as two were observed watching and copying signs.  The older students were wowed by the stories and enjoyed them so much they asked for more, especially Māori stories. 

The teachers felt that the stories are a great teaching resource and tool to preserve NZSL.  The range of stories is awesome for different levels of language and also the Māori stories. 

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