Out of the 135 entries submitted to the Palau National Marine Sanctuary (PNMS) Translation Contest, Ms. Tkerbai Junior, a 6th grade student from Koror Elementary School, won with her translation, “Euotelel a klingil a debel Belau”.  In her explanation, Ms. Junior expressed that we are not only protecting and conserving the life in the ocean for our fishery, but also for the well-being of Palauans.

The Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC), in honor of the 4th anniversary of the passing of the PNMS Act on October 28, 2015, launched the PNMS Translation Contest as a way to connect PNMS, a contemporary expression of Palauan culture, to the Palauan language. The Palauan language, which has been used by Palauans forefathers from ancient times until the present day, is an expression of culture, and thus, it plays a vital role in connecting the PNMS to the people of Palau.

The success of the contest was made possible due to the expertise and knowledge of the judges.  Combined, the five judges brought their expertise in Palauan language, history and culture, as well as marine conservation, and education.  The judges for this contest were Palau Community College Palauan language and history professor, Mrs. Elicita Morei, Acting Director at the Archives and Special Assistant to the Minister of Community and Cultural Affairs, Mr. Yalap Yalap, Palauan Poet, Ms. Hermana Ramarui, Ministry of Education Palauan Language Specialist, Mr. Jay Uchel Watanabe, and longtime conservation educator and 2018 Tommy E. Remengesau, Jr. Environmental Award recipient, Ms. Carol O. Emaurois.

The judges evaluated the translation entries based on the following categories: language (correct use of the Palauan language), justification (the explanation of the translation is coherent and consistent), originality (the translation is creative and innovative), and essence (the translation best captures the meaning of PNMS).   The five judges mentioned the beautiful use of the word “Euotelel”, which comes from the word “Euatel”; a fortress or gated area that can provide a place of refuge for life in the ocean. The phrase as a whole, considered the judges, truly captivates the essence of the PNMS. (PR)