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What's Star Wars like in your language?

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I’m bilingual French/English, but I haven’t watched anything in French that wasn’t originally French since I was kid. I just remember French dubs being pretty lame. No one dares to vary the accents for fear of losing French audiences, which is a shame because I think it would be nice to dub Americans and Canadians as Québécois to contrast Brits, Australians, and Kiwis being dubbed as French.

But back on topic, how is the dub of Star Wars in your native language (or one of them)?

Apparently in the French version, R2-D2 and C-3PO are called D2-R2 and 6-PO in certain older versions (why, though?). The Death Star is called l’Étoile Noire (the Black Star), but in a twist they went with a direct translation for the second one, calling it l’Étoile de la Mort. My cousin and I, even though he generally watches them in French, we always use the English names, so perhaps those anomalies have since been ironed out. Crimson Dawn is translated to Aube Écarlate (Scarlet Dawn), which while faithful, is not nearly as slick. I’ve heard of Darth Vader being called Dark Vador, though I’m not sure if that’s still the case.

As a side note, apparently the German version of The Clone Wars has nearly the entire voice cast from the Prequels reprising their roles.

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Prends ta pelle et ton seau et va jouer ptit gars

The French dub of La guerre des étoiles (as Star Wars was known in France in 77) is hilarious! With a strong seventies vibe: the younglings nowadays would find it old fashioned…

Han: Hey Lando! You kept your promise, right? Not a scratch?
Lando: Well, what’s left of her isn’t scratched. All the scratched parts got knocked off along the way.
Han (exasperated): Knocked off?!

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I’m probably the odd man out in that I like to listen to dubs in languages I don’t understand. So from a translation/accuracy point-of-view, I’ve got nothing to add. However, I have some opinions:

I like Soviet-style voiceovers, at least in principle. You get to hear the original performance exactly as it was, and also a translation in a more-or-less neutral voice. It is oddly similar to listening to a speech at the UN, though. It also helps that the Russian non-voiceover dub of Star Wars has such awful audio quality that it’s easy to prefer the voiceover dub in that case.

Leia and Threepio are apparently hard to capture, tone-wise, in a dub. Leia is a strong take-charge female lead, not a delicate love interest. I feel like the Thai dub completely misses Leia, while the Navajo dub gets it right. On the other hand, Threepio is basically a butler – someone who is polite to the point of obsequious, while at the same time just barely papering over the fact that he often feels he’s smarter than the people he serves. Lots of dubs fail here, just making Threepio Some Dude with vocal distortion, but IIRC Hindi does a very good job here.

Then there’s Tamil. I love that crazypants Tamil dub. Characters who are onscreen but not saying anything get a Tamil breathing track, sometimes every bit as noticeable as Vader or Admiral Ackbar’s breathing. Don’t speak English or have English subtitles for what you’re saying? Not a problem, you’re getting dubbed anyway. Even Ewoks get fresh new voices, but I honestly can’t tell you if it’s Tamil or not. And I’m pretty certain there’s English peppered into the Tamil*, so you can hear Luke tell R2 to shut up, or Han tell Luke “I hate you”. It actually works in context. I heart this dub.

* I’m not talking about bits where there’s a gap in the dub and we fall back to the English track, although there are those as well, but places where the Tamil voice actors use English phrases.

Project Threepio (Star Wars OOT subtitles)

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Ok, now I want to watch with the Tamil dub!

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dahmage said:

Ok, now I want to watch with the Tamil dub!

The English insults are in Empire, the weird dubbing of people that don’t need to be dubbed are in Jedi. The heavy breathing is, thankfully, everywhere. Sadly, though, I don’t believe there ever was a Tamil dub of Star Wars, and both the Empire and Jedi tracks are cobbled together from torrents that didn’t have the complete dub to begin with, so there’s English bits filling the gaps.

Project Threepio (Star Wars OOT subtitles)

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CatBus said:

dahmage said:

Ok, now I want to watch with the Tamil dub!

The English insults are in Empire, the weird dubbing of people that don’t need to be dubbed are in Jedi. The heavy breathing is, thankfully, everywhere. Sadly, though, I don’t believe there ever was a Tamil dub of Star Wars, and both the Empire and Jedi tracks are cobbled together from torrents that didn’t have the complete dub to begin with, so there’s English bits filling the gaps.

Good to know. I think I have a new quest…

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Yeah, that’s really… a weird thing to say? I guess it’s because Kelly Marie Tran is Vietnamese and the Tamil language is spoken in Asia? I don’t know what he was going for there.

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I thought he was referring to Catbus’ signature, being language related.

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It’s weird because Anakin’s post isn’t directly after Catbus’s, it’s after Dahmage’s.

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True, but I would be surprised if he said that because he connected Tamil and Rose Tico. I certainly hope not!

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Oh it was absolutely about Catbus’s signature. Sorry I didn’t make that clear.

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Ah, okay, that makes much more sense!

a trolling bantha

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Drop your painties sir William. I cannot wait till lunchtime.

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Well, I’m Norwegian, but they rarely dub live-action films (that’s almost exclusively reserved for animated/children’s films), so I’ve only seen the cartoons in Norwegian. And even those aren’t particularly strange other than a few odd pronunciations of character/place names.

However, the name Han was always a problem when talking or playing SW as a kid, because “han” in Norwegian literally means “him”. So talking about SW characters could often get confusing as it was often unclear if “him” was referring to Han or someone else, because even if you were talking about Luke or Vader then suddenly “Han” would appear out of nowhere.

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That sounds like an absolute nightmare. I’m guessing they called him something else?

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Anakin Starkiller said:

That sounds like an absolute nightmare. I’m guessing they called him something else?

Nope, just “Han”, that’s why it got so confusing. We did eventually learn to just repeat the characters names in conversation to avoid saying “him/han”.

At least SW comics managed to avoid this due to capitalization. And Han wasn’t in any of the cartoons so they never had to deal with it.

As a side note; the name Anakin was often a bit amusing to me and my friends as the common Norwegian pronunciation is phonetically similar to a fairly common girl’s name (spelled “Anniken”).

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that’s interesting. here in Brazil, some characters had to have their names changed not to sound weird. captain panaka became captain panace because panaka would sound like “panaca”, which means either fool or in a more aggressive context, an idiot or something. dooku became dookan because dooku would sound like ‘do cu’, which means ‘from the asshole’, so yeah. i don’t recall if padme had her name changed, but ‘amidala’ sounds a lot like ‘amigdala’ which is ‘amygdala’.