Bank of Hawaii Installing Hawaiian Language on ATMs

May 14, 2012, 3:36 PM HST · Updated May 14, 4:42 PM
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Bank of Hawaii ATMs will soon handle transactions in the Hawaiian lanaguage. Photo courtesy of Bank of Hawaii.

By Sonia Isotov

“Aloha mai.” That’s the message that will greet Bank of Hawaii ATM users when the bank rolls out its Hawaiian language capability later this year.

The Bank of Hawaii in cooperation with the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and the Hawaii Tourism Authority is giving customers the capability to make transactions in the Hawaiian language. More than 400 ATMs are expected to be ready by sometime this summer.

“This is important to help perpetuate the Hawaiian language and our host culture. We’re proud to be the first financial institution to offer Hawaiian language capability on its ATM network,” said Peter Ho, chairman and chief executive officer of the Bank of Hawaii, in a written statement.

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“OHA congratulates the Bank of Hawaii’s leadership for being the first to include Hawaiian language as an ATM option. It’s a milestone event that recognizes the Hawaiian language as a relevant form of mainstream communication,” said Peter Apo, a trustee of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

“When we incorporate the Hawaiian language in our day-to-day activities, it will become a living language in our home, Hawai‘i,” said Hawai‘i Tourism Authority President and CEO Mike McCartney.

The Hawaiian language option for the ATMs will include words such as “ahu kīko‘o,” or “checking account” and “mīkini huki kālā” or “automated teller machine (ATM).”

Like any other language, Hawaiian evolves to include new and modern words. However, a number of the words that will be used in the ATM option are taken from 19th century banking advertisements found in Hawaiian language newspapers. During the 1800s Hawaiian language was used in the banking business as well as other aspects of life in that era.

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