Navajo Translation of Star Wars
Languages are dying at an unprecedented rate across the globe daily. Within a language there are so many level of knowledge and history that we lose when we lose a language, and that’s why it’s important to conserve languages to the best of our ability.
Recently the infamous “Star Wars” movie was translated and dubbed into Navajo – one of the oldest languages in the world. Navajo is an important language to the American people, just as Star Wars is an important movie to the American people. The juxtaposition of translating Star Wars into Navajo is magical.
Dave Nezzie and his wife Amanda took on the momentous translation task. It started with their adoration of R2D2 and the galaxy far, far beyond, and their love for each other. The couple resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico and struggle to teach their children Navajo while residing off of the reservation. Together with the Navajo Nation Museum and Lucasfilm, the couple sparked a major feat, which lead to the translation and dubbing of the ever-famous Star Wars into Navajo.
Translation is important on so many levels. We know and understand that language is the one thing that separates human beings from other living creatures. It appears that nothing else that we know of have the ability to communicate in such in-depth ways as humans. With over 6000 languages spoken across the globe, the value of language is something that we can never overlook. And through translation, we are able to save dying languages but more than that, through the art of translation we are able to respect the living, breathing entity that is language.
Translating into Navajo is no easy feat, much less when you are translating terms like “droid” and “R2D2.” Navajo is a language struggling to survive and while there are major efforts to make sure the language thrives, finding professional translators capable of creating a quality translation is a challenging opportunity. Jennifer Wheeler, a professor of English at the University of New Mexico in Gallup was the lead translator for the project.
May The Force Be With You.