Sunday, June 26, 2016


Nigerian prince learns Hawaiian

Makemake au e relocate i ko oukou aina a me koʻu hopena makua kāne dala, a i ke koena o ka $ 3.5 miliona dala i loko o kona kapa hoike. … Pela kaʻu mea i keia mea o koʻu kumu no ka contacting ia oukou pela oukou e kokua mai oe iaʻu e hoolilo i ka kala iloko o ko oukou mooolelo pela au i hiki mai ai i ko oukou aina, e noho ilalo, a hoomau i koʻu hoʻonaʻauao, oiai oukou e kokua mai oe iaʻu i ke kālele 'i ke kālā.

(I want to relocate to your country and my late father funds, and the remainder of the $ 3.5 million dollars in its report. My late father Mr. David Dodo, ua'apu poisoned to death on the 21 July 2015. … So my thing is my reason for contacting you so you will help me to make the money in your account so I come to your country, to sit down and continue my education, while you help me to invest the money.) (Google translation)

by Larry Geller

I often wonder what the token Hawaiian language column that appears weekly in the Star-Advertiser means. Sadly, though I have lived here so many years, I cannot read it.

But actually, I can now… Google Translate includes the Hawaiian language.

I was put to shame actually by one of those “Nigerian prince” emails that popped into my inbox yesterday. A snip of it is in the pull-quote above.

Obviously, the Nigerians (or whoever they are) feel the necessity to communicate with people who live in Hawaii in their own language. This kind of makes sense, I suppose, in a Nigerian prince sort of way. Although the spams you and I generally receive are in English, no doubt they send German-language spam to Germany, Spanish-language spam to Venezuela, and so forth. So of course they should send me an email in Hawaiian. Some algorithm they use has put emails togther with their location.

Am I supposed to believe the email is genuine because for some reason this Nigerian girl speaks Hawaiian? It’s the same crappy email I get in English, but somehow I never questioned how it is that all these rich folks in Nigeria speak English. After all, everyone in the Prince Valient comic speaks English, as do the  fish in Sherman’s Lagoon. Prince Valient speaking anything but English would be weird.

But now there is a new question: just why is there a column in the Star-Advertiser in Hawaiian? There used to be real Hawaiian-language newspapers in this town. I am not suggesting it should not be there, but it does raise the issue of tokenism. Why? Because if it were important, the paper would translate it so I could actually read it! And how many news articles does the paper translate into Hawaiian? Hmmm?

Try giving testimony at the Legislature in one of the state’s official languages—Hawaiian—and of course they will not understand a word of it. The legislators sit poker-faced and listen but comprehend nothing. When this occurs, I do understand that an important point is being made. But a regular column that, face it, very few readers can actually read, is problematic—because the paper could translate it but doesn’t.

If what is written in the paper in Hawaiian was at all important to the editors they should have provided a parallel English translation. Without it, it’s something like that testimony at the Legislature.

Well, with Google now accepting Hawaiian-language text, it’s up to me to grab the next column, let the technology work, and read the message it is trying to convey.

Well, after writing the above, I went to the Star-Advertiser website. Since I am a subscriber, I can read the op-ed Kauakukalahale myself.

I plugged it in to Google Translate.

What critical local issue is being discussed? Rail? The failure of Hawaiian Homelands? No… it’s about… get ready for this …

Problems with the translation of English into Chinese at a Disney park in Shanghai.

Maybe I don’t need to read these columns after all. The Nigerian prince email was about as relevant.


Post a Comment

Requiring those Captcha codes at least temporarily, in the hopes that it quells the flood of comment spam I've been receiving.

<< Home


page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Newer›  ‹Older