What’s Your Hawaiian Name?

Here’s a unique, cost effective and interesting way to give your Hawai‘i meeting, incentive or convention a Hawaiian sense of place.

Put the Hawaiian translation of your attendees and guest’s first name on their name tags. Doing this will spark immediate interest and conversation opportunities.


  • Translating a name can be done through proper research. All names have a language or cultural root meaning. It is this meaning that is translating into Hawaiian. For example: Franklin, from the ancient Germanic, means a “free man,” which translates into Kuākahi.
  • Trans-literate – replace the letters of one language with the letters of another language. Be very careful in using transliteration, as the meaning of the name can be drastically changed. For example: Frank would be transliterationalized as Palani, which means, “stink”. Oh my!!!


  • The incorrect way to do this is to simply rewrite the name phonetically, as is done on many key chains and coffee mugs in many souvenir shops. For example: Evan (correctly meaning “youth”) would be incorrectly phonetically translated as Ewa (meaning “unstable”) or Paula (correctly meaning “small or little one”) is incorrectly translated as Pali (meaning “cliff”).

There’s more to a name than meets the eye. Have fun with this idea, and let Island Partners Hawai‘i make sure it’s your attendees can be proud of their Hawaiian name!