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The entire bible in Olelo Hawaii? There’s an app for that.

A printed version of the bible in Olelo Hawaii.
A printed version of the bible in Olelo Hawaii.(Partners in Development Foundation)
Updated: Dec. 15, 2020 at 3:53 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - “ʻI ihola ke Akua, I malamalama; a ua malamalama aʻela.”

Or, for those of you who don’t read Olelo Hawaii: “And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.”

If you’re among those who picked up on the first version of the verse, the popular free app simply called ‘Bible’ ― available in places like the Apple and Google Play app stores ― has added Native Hawaiian to its list of 1,300 available languages.

The Hawaii-based non-profit Partners in Development Foundation finished its nearly 18-year Ka Baibala Hemolele project earlier this year. It’s believed to be the first entirely digitized and searchable version of the bible in Olelo Hawaii that features the accurate Hawaiian diacritical marks.

“Initially, the project was intended to preserve the out-of-print (Hawaiian language) bible, which was very, very expensive and difficult to find,” said Laura Dang, the Vice President of Administration for Partners in Development Foundation. “This is the culmination of the whole project, not just having it available in print, but with mobile devices, this is kind of making it available worldwide.”

The process of digitizing the bible took many turns along the way, Dang says.

“We took pictures of the out-of-print bible, put them on our website,” she said. “And people asked, ‘Why don’t we create a printed bible?’ That took many many years.”

The digital version of the Olelo Hawaii text is a transliteration of an earlier version that translated Hawaiian directly from Hebrew and Greek, the original source languages of the Old and New Testaments, respectively.

To find the app, search for the word ‘Bible’ in the app store and change the language to Native Hawaiian.

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