University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa language instructor Keao NeSmith is the linguist behind Harry Potter a Me Ka Pōhaku Akeakamai, an ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi (Hawaiian language) translation of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

NeSmith, a cultural practitioner, was born and raised in Kekaha, Kauaʻi, where he regularly spoke Hawaiian with his grandmother. Translating Harry Potter was a fun endeavor for NeSmith, and he was not anticipating such a powerful reaction.

“A couple of people have expressed to me, in tears, how they never would have imagined having it in Hawaiian,” said NeSmith.

Watch the interview with NeSmith about his passion for working on ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi translations.

Harry Potter cover with Hawaiian words