CIT offers Hawaiian interpreters and translators with legal, medical and specialty experience, including criminal and civil matters, employee meetings, engineering, patent cases, labor disputes, immigration and more.

Although based in Los Angeles, CIT offers comprehensive Hawai’ian language services including interpretation, translation and transcription, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, worldwide. Our interpreters and translators are native speakers who have been screened, certified, have provided credentials, field tested, and kept up to date with developments in both English and the Hawai’ian language through means such as lectures, conferences, and travel. CIT’s Hawai’ian language interpreters and translators possess in depth knowledge of the Hawai’ian language, as well as of the culture and history of the Hawai’ian people, allowing them to provide informed and complete interpretation and translation.

 

The History of the Hawai’ian Language

The Hawaiian language, known as Olelo Hawai’I, is one of the Polynesian languages. A lot of the Hawai’ian language has been replaced by Creole. In 1778, Captain Cook and his colleagues recorded the language for the first time in Kaua’i. Cook and his colleagues realized that the language was very similar to Tahitian and Maori. In order to communicate with the people of Hawai’I, they used the Tahitian language. The early explorers who had first come in contact with the people of Hawaii, noticed that the language had a lot of vowels, making it sound like redundant baby-babble. They called the Hawaiian language, “primitive” and “child-like”.

Hawaiian is an oral language, without a historical record of it being written down. In the 1800s, missionaries wanted to teach their converts to read the Bible. They created a simple written language consisting of only 12 letters that came from Hawaiian origin based on sounds they heard. Not long after, the Hawaiian language was used for government, daily life and within ethnic groups, many of which came to Hawaii to work on the plantations. Two unique characteristics were later added to the Hawaiian alphabet that the missionaries had missed. The first is a glottal stop, or an unnoticed consonant. It is represented by the ‘okina symbol (‘). The other characteristic is a line placed above a vowel, indicating a longer sound. After the inclusion of these two characteristics, the Hawaiian language became as complete as other languages.

Once Hawaii became part of the United States, English became the primary language. In 1893, when the Kingdom was overthrown, the Hawaiian language was banned from schools and government. There are approximately one thousand native speakers. Many of them live on an isolated part of Hawaii called Ni’ihau. About 8000 more people can speak and understand Hawaiian currently.

In the 1970s, the language, along with Hawaiian culture, took a revolutionary turn. This caused a newfound respect for the language. In 1978, the language once more became an official language of the state of Hawaii and many immersion programs began. Today, they continue to spread in Punana Leo schools. About 1400 students are learning in the Hawaiian language and another 4000 students are learning the language as a second language. In 1978, Hawaiian became a mandatory second language in public schools.

 

Fun Facts about Hawaiian

  • Many foods native to Hawaii are symbols of the waves that brought immigrants to the island
  • The Hawaiian people have a very devout belief system
  • Music and dance are a large part of Hawaiian culture