Navajo Star Wars
July 4, 2013 9:47 AM   Subscribe

I would watch the whole thing just to keep hearing the awesome crowd responses!
posted by jquinby at 9:56 AM on July 4, 2013 [17 favorites]

Great, now the Nazis will have both a ciphertext and a plaintext. Our codes are useless!
posted by Strange Interlude at 9:57 AM on July 4, 2013 [37 favorites]

It sounded like 3PO still had an English inflection which makes it sooooo awesome!
posted by mrgroweler at 10:01 AM on July 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

This is great. I'm guessing there were Navajo inside jokes in the dubbed dialogue, which is what made the crowd laugh.
posted by Countess Elena at 10:31 AM on July 4, 2013

Despite the language, Leia still sounds like she comes from the San Fernando Valley.
posted by benito.strauss at 10:40 AM on July 4, 2013

I'm imagining the Navajos watching this during translation breaks during the Operation Paperclip story arc in the X-Files.
posted by lownote at 10:43 AM on July 4, 2013 [2 favorites]

Boy, that Darth Vader seems like he means business...not like that English speaking one who gets all emo about sand.
posted by Smart Dalek at 11:34 AM on July 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

jquinby: "I would watch the whole thing just to keep hearing the awesome crowd responses!"

Yeah, the palpable joy that erupted when C3P0 said his first lines in Dine' was pretty awesome.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:51 AM on July 4, 2013 [6 favorites]

Random story: Fifty years ago, before I was born, my mother taught for a few years at a Catholic school on the Arizona Navajo reservation. On the occasional movie nights, Tarzan movies were always met with uproarious laughter.

As the story goes, the "jungle tribesmen" actors were actually Navajo. They had been asked to deliver their lines in Navajo to make it sound authentic. Of course, the movie crew didn't know *what* they said... My mother was told that dirty jokes, complaints about pay, and shout-outs to relatives were the actual urgent messages given to Tarzan when Jane was in trouble.
posted by underflow at 12:24 PM on July 4, 2013 [35 favorites]

This is fantastic.
posted by rotifer at 1:40 PM on July 4, 2013 [2 favorites]

I'm guessing there were Navajo inside jokes in the dubbed dialogue, which is what made the crowd laugh.

I'm curious about that. I think some of the laughter could just be about the excitement of hearing something so iconic in your native language, or even just certain turns of phrase that you've never heard out of anyone's mouth who's not an Indian.

I really hope someone who knows Dine drops in.
posted by roll truck roll at 1:42 PM on July 4, 2013 [4 favorites]

MetaFilter: I really hope someone who knows Diné drops in.
posted by benito.strauss at 1:50 PM on July 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

Previously, when this was first announced. Really quick turn-around, but as of June 20, Lucasfilm has no plans for a wider theatrical release or DVD version of Star Wars in Navajo.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:51 PM on July 4, 2013

I am pleased to see this happen and even more pleased that it would appear Lucas resisted the urge to modify the film beyond the dialog. Or at least it wasn't mentioned in the article.
posted by tommasz at 2:04 PM on July 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

Aww, you missed the easy 'altering the deal' gag, tommasz.

This made me grin from ear to ear. Here's hoping they get Empire!
posted by obiwanwasabi at 1:55 AM on July 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

They hadn't announced casting as of the last post, so please note Luke Skywalker is voiced by Terry Teller, aka prolific Navajo-culture vlogger Daybreak Warrior. Terry vlogs about the audition. More on casting, including a brief profile of Coach Vader.
posted by ormondsacker at 9:50 AM on July 5, 2013 [2 favorites]

Ya'at'eeh! Dineh nishli. Typing this from my phone at the moment, so excuse typos please.

Have you ever dreamed about something so bizarre and impossible that you accepted it will only exist in the realm of fantasy? My friends and I saw it become a reality on June 30th when we were invited to a cast screening of Star Wars, a lot of us cried. The translators and voice actors did such an incredible job that one of our code talkers who attended the screening said "what these voice actors did for the Navajo language is going to have the same impact of what we did during world war II."

My friend Ryan Singer was there, he DREAMED about this constantly, just look at his sci-fi art work here: Ryan Singer Gallery. Ever met anyone who won the lottery? That was him that night, times a billion.

Admittedly, they took a lot of grammatical shortcuts to fit the actor's mouth movement, but we all thought this would be a great way to speak basic Dineh Bizaad.

The loudest cheers were for Darth Vader, easily. He speaks like a true cheii/grandfather would speak to us. I can easily dismiss insults in English but nothing grinds me down to dust more than being chewed out in Dineh Bizaad by either my cheii or masani/grandmother due to how descriptive and precise our language is.

Well my flight is leaving, thought I'd quickly chime in from a Dineh hastiin perspective.
posted by nataaniinez at 2:40 PM on July 5, 2013 [10 favorites]

As far as inside jokes go, there was a lot. We're masters of euphemisms in our language, C3P0 was the perfect vessel for that. C3P0 was like a bossy aunt to us, always telling you to chase after the sheep, don't be stupid/lazy, etc. etc. In my opinion, C3P0, Princess Leia and Darth Vader were given the best translations, in that order.
posted by nataaniinez at 2:56 PM on July 5, 2013 [3 favorites]

nataaniinez - if you have more time, or have any links, I would love to hear some about some of the translation jokes/euphemisms that were in there. Would you say it was a pretty strict translation, or was there a lot of wordplay and adaptation involved? Thanks so much for chiming in.
posted by Think_Long at 3:02 PM on July 5, 2013

(I have 5 more minutes before the stewardess yells at me)

The translations were mostly strict and as I said earlier, shortcuts were made. For example, when referring to r2d2 they says "beesh yazhi" which literally means little metal. A more proper thing to say would be "beesh ntsikeesi yazhi" - little computer. An even MORE proper way to say it would be something that says "little whistling computer."

when iland i will provide more examples if able to!
posted by nataaniinez at 3:15 PM on July 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

awesome, thanks
posted by Think_Long at 3:39 PM on July 5, 2013

posted by obiwanwasabi at 4:26 PM on July 5, 2013

Oh no, video got removed. Is it up anywhere else?
posted by roll truck roll at 9:04 AM on July 6, 2013

I can't recall any euphemisms at the moment that really stick out, I'd have to watch the movie again since the dialogue is quick and a slight mix of regional dialects. I really appreciate that they added cultural mannerisms and colloquialisms that a lot of us Dineh would get a kick out of, which would be the inside jokes portion of the translations. If I recall correctly nothing was off script, no shout-outs or insults/comments breaking the fourth wall that were directed at non-Dineh bizaad speakers. I was more impressed by how versatile our language is, especially when describing something as a "Death Star" or the "Millennium Falcon."

As of right now, I know that they are planning on taking the movie on a tour throughout our territory. They're also asking us all who attended the pre-screen to hold to a secrecy clause we all signed, so I can't give away too much :)
posted by nataaniinez at 4:29 PM on July 6, 2013

Here's a decent video with some dialogue and further explanations:
posted by nataaniinez at 6:37 PM on July 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

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