Maui News

Harry Potter Now Available in ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi

December 16, 2018, 3:32 PM HST
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Fans of Harry Potter now have the chance to read the world famous book in ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi. University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa faculty member Richard Keao NeSmith recently released Harry Potter a Me Ka Pōhaku Akeakamai,  an ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi, or Hawaiian language,  translation of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

NeSmith, who teaches Tahitian language courses at UH Mānoa’s Department of Indo-Pacific Languages and Literatures, said it took about six weeks to translate the book. He finished the project on a train from Paris to Barcelona. “It really felt like I was in the story with Harry Potter at the end of the first book,” NeSmith said.

This is not the first time NeSmith has translated classic novels. In 2013, he released the ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi version of The Little Prince by French writer Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. He also translated J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, as well as Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There.

NeSmith said translating Lewis Carroll was intriguing. “He was at the forefront of the literary nonsense genre in the mid-1800s and, at the same time here in Hawaiʻi, there was an explosion of production of translations from westernliterature,” NeSmith said. He said he plans to translate the rest of the Harry Potter series.

Harry Potter a Me Ka Pōhaku Akeakamai: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in Hawaiian (Hawaiian Edition) is available online, through Evertype Publishing, and in local bookstores that carry Hawaiian books.

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