Google currently supports over 125 languages to make searching universal across everyone in the world. They even have support for languages that are a twist on the English language such as “pirate” and “Elmer Fudd.” But they did not have support for the Hawaiian language up until now. Aloha Hawaiian language on Google!
Adding the Hawaiian language to the search engine has sentimental value too. The United Nations said that the language is “critically endangered.” Keola Donaghy, an assistant professor at the University of Hawaii-Hilo pushed to have the language added to the search engine.
“We’ve been doing this work for 18 years, simply trying to make it easier for people who speak Hawaiian to use these kinds of technologies,” stated Dongahy in an interview with CNN.
About three years ago, Google added the Maori language. After that Donaghy decided to contact the search engine company to have Hawaii added. After Donaghy did not get a response, he decided to put the project on hold. The reason why Google did not respond was because the original language coordinator was no longer with the company and was replaced.
After the replacement was made, adding the Hawaiian language became a priority once again. Donaghy himself said that he put in about 100 hours in getting the Hawaiian language added.
One of the bigger setbacks was choosing the context of the language. The words “surfing the Internet” was an issue because there isn’t a native term for it. However there was a native term for surfing the ocean. They decided to use the native term that is often used for navigating a canoe.
Donaghy was also involved in translating the Netscape Navigator browser into Hawaiian around 1997. He was able to use his work on that project for the Google project too.