Edit ModuleShow Tags

Banking on Hawaiian


Published:

Image: Thinkstock

The ongoing revival of the Hawaiian language is reaching into new territory—banking. Well, not exactly new, as business was commonly conducted in Hawaiian as recently as the early 20th Century.

Today, Bank of Hawaii is redesigning its ATMs to allow customers to conduct their transactions in Olelo Hawaii, in addition to the existing English, Japanese and Chinese choices.

Translating modern English banking terms into Hawaiian required some digging into the past, says Kelii Wilson, director of the Hawaii Tourism Authority’s Hawaiian Cultural Affairs and head of the project. “We didn’t have to start from scratch,” she says, noting that some words used in the interface, such as pila kikoo, or check, were borrowed from ads and articles in Hawaiian-language newspapers dating back
to the 1860s.

Technological terms provided a challenge, says UH Hilo professor Larry Kimura, who also worked on the project.

One such word, kahoi, is used as “enter” on the ATM. In traditional settings, the word is used as an interjection, adding a surprised tone to a question.

Eric Chen, Bankoh’s vice president for ATM Services, says the bank has expanded the interface to one-third of its roughly 440 ATMs statewide since the beginning of the year. For Wilson, that change represents a significant step in normalizing the Hawaiian language and taking it “out of academia and into the business world.”

Did you know? The Hawaiian phrase for “ATM” is Mikini panako—literally “bank machine.”

Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Subscribe to Honolulu

Honolulu Magazine October 2017
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Trending

 

What’s Next for These Stores After Ward Warehouse Closes for Demolition?

Ward Warehouse

Miss your favorite Ward Warehouse merchants? Here’s where to find them.

 

33 Real Problems (No, Seriously) Only Hawai‘i Locals Can Handle

Carmageddon.

It’s paradise. So why are we so stressed?

 


21 Hilarious Hawai‘i Memes That are Too Real for Locals

Hawaii Apartments

Hawai‘i nō ka ʻoi when it comes to the beaches, the food and even our memes.

 

Here’s How to Survive a Possible North Korea Nuclear Strike in Hawai‘i

North Korea

What you need to do according to the Hawai‘i State Department of Defense.

 


20 Great O‘ahu Hikes

Explore 20 great adventures that offer beautiful vistas, waterfalls and more.

 

 

Edit ModuleShow Tags