Hawaiian language added to Google


POSTED: Friday, August 07, 2009

Next time you do a search on the Web, you could be selecting “;Huli ia Google,”; the Hawaiian words for “;search Google.”;

The Hawaiian language version of Google's search engine is now available on Apple's Safari browser through a project by a University of Hawaii-Hilo assistant professor, who also translated the Netscape Web browser in 1997.

Keola Donaghy of the Ke Haka 'Ula O Ke'elikolani College of Hawaiian Language estimates he spent 100 hours creating the translation. The Hawaiian version provides instructions in Hawaiian on Google's search engine, but results are still in English.

To complete the translation, Keola provided Hawaiian versions of 2,500 “;strings”;—words, sentences or paragraphs used by Google's search engine.

For three years, Keola had been trying to persuade Google to add Hawaiian to the dozens of other languages available.

Last year, Te Taka Keegan, a lecturer at the University of Waikato in New Zealand, opened the door for Donaghy while working at Google.

Keegan had created a Maori language version for Google that took about eight years, he said by e-mail.

A Hawaiian version “;will give native Hawaiians a sense of pride, a sense of identity and a confirmation that their language has real purpose in today's modern society,”; he wrote.

Donaghy said the translation will positively affect the Hawaiian community.

“;It tells our children that the Hawaiian language is on par with the other languages of the world,”; he said. “;It increases the status of the language in their eyes and also around the world.”;

Google's Hawaiian version can be accessed after selecting olelo Hawaii, or Hawaiian language, inside the system preferences on Apple.

The Hawaiian version for all Web browsers will be available as soon as the end of this week, Donaghy said.

Keola wants Hawaiian language to be available in as many contexts as possible and is trying to persuade Facebook to add a Hawaiian interface.

“;We live in a society where telecommunications is a huge part of our life,”; he said. “;For us to ignore that world, we are saying the Hawaiian language doesn't belong here.”;