Photo by Mungo Park on Flickr
Star Wars: A New Hope may be coming soon to a Yakut-language theatre near you. Assuming you live in the Russian Federation’s Republic of Sakha, where the vast majority of the world’s half-million Yakut speakers live.
If not, prepare for a bit of a nippy hike as the Republic of Sakha is located in the central-northeast part of Siberia. Wear your mukluks!
And no, C3PO and his much-vaunted six million languages fluency had nothing to do with it. Maybe he’s taken a powder, sorely vexed because he and his pal R2-D2 have been left out of the forthcoming Star Wars movie in December.
The translation project, tentatively titled Sulustaaҕy Seriiler (Star Wars) pending permission from Disney, is entirely a fan-based effort in the region. Team member Giorgiy Antipin says they hope to have the first movie translated – they’ve already got actors lined up – by the release of the next installment, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story in mid-December of this year.
Star Wars itself has been translated into more than fifty languages including Navaho, A New Hope being the first movie ever dubbed into the Native American language. That’s not exactly six million, but it’s a start.
Star Wars in Navaho:
(Apparently there’s no Navaho translation for “Your Highness”)
Star Wars presents its own specific set of lingual challenges, regardless of target language. There are many alien languages in the movie, not to mention words that only exist in the Lucasverse like “bantha”, “jawa” and “mitichlorian”. And how difficult to transcribe is Yodaspeak! Hard to capture his inverted English language style in other languages it is!
Other dialogue is a bit more straightforward. How to say “I am your father” in twenty different languages:
“Luc, je suis ton pére!”
This fascinating piece on open.edu details how the movies are translated for different cultures and languages. French translators turned Jabba the Hutt into Jabba the Forester, and Chewbacca became Chiktabba – Chico for short. (Did that make Han Solo The Man? Or Yan Solo, as French translators called him. Chico & The Yan!)
Yappn currently offers only 67 languages compared to C3PO’s mighty multilingual messaging, and we don’t currently offer Yakut, be we strongly suspect C3PO doesn’t either, so maybe he’s just hiding from this Siberian project out of sheer embarrassment. But in an effort to promote multi-galactic communication, we offer the following brief helpful translation of Star Wars quotes you may need in other parts of the Milky Way, at least until NASA invents hyperspace drive.
Que la fuerza esté con usted (Spanish)
May the Force be with you.
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Hokey religii i drevneye oruzhiye ne podkhodyat dlya khoroshego blastera na vashey storone, rebenok. (Russian)
Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid.
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Du vil aldri finne en mer elendig struktur av avskum og ondskap. (Norwegian)
You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.
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Seseorang mempunyai untuk menyelamatkan kulit kita. Ke dalam pelongsor sampah, terbang lelaki. (Malay)
Someone has to save our skins. Into the garbage chute, flyboy.
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J’ai eu l’habitude de bullseye rats WOMP dans mon T-16 chez moi, ils ne sont pas beaucoup plus grand que deux mètres. (French)
I used to bullseye womp rats in my T-16 back home, they’re not much bigger than two meters.
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Namiram lipsata si na vyara se narushava. (Bulgarian)
I find your lack of faith disturbing.
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Mám veľmi zlý pocit. (Slovak)
I have a very bad feeling about this.
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Os byddwch yn fy nharo i lawr, byddaf yn dod yn fwy pwerus nag y gallech ddychmygu. (Welsh)
If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you could imagine.
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We’d like to say, “Jabba won neechee kochba mu shanee wy tonny wya uska” (Jabba put a price on your head so large, every bounty hunter in the galaxy will be looking for you) in Yakut, but tragically, Google Translate doesn’t offer a Greedospeak-to-Yakut option yet. But we’ll bet he still shoots first in the Yakut version, too!
Yappn is a real-time innovative language services provider who plans to offer translations in Bocce, Shyriiwook, Mando’a and Huttese as we expand into other universes, although we’re still debating Sith as we’re not sure we want to do any business with those guys. Yapp with us about Earth-based languages for the moment at firstname.lastname@example.org.