Rigorous Paraphrase: On cultivating a new standard of translation and refusal


As more scholars engage directly with Hawaiian language resources the issue of translation and its politics become more significant to unpack. While the question of translation, whether to engage in its practice or not, is an important one. Much of these conversations have failed to address the way analyzing, critically interpreting, evaluating, or even simply writing about Hawaiian language materials in English are themselves all acts of translation. Much of the scholarship written about our Hawaiian Language archive has itself had to participate in translation to display our work effectively.
Therefore, in this paper I will present an emerging approach to translation in Hawaiian scholarship, Rigorous Paraphrase. While this practice does not solve all of the many problems resulting from over a century of our pilina as Kānaka Maoli to our ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi being damaged, it does attempt to respond to the challenges posed by translation.
Ultimately, this paper outlines a resistance to the assumption that analyzing Hawaiian language materials always requires full and formal translations, primarily because the presence of such translations in practice impedes the process of trying to understand and learn from these texts within their own logic. Recognizing the contexts, including the linguistic ones, from which Hawaiian language materials emerge is ultimately more important.