We all know and love everyone’s favourite alien Yoda from the Star Wars films but recently we have been wondering “what does Yoda’s syntax look like in non-English versions of Star Wars?”
Yoda speaks English vocabulary, but uses an OSV (object, subject, verb) syntax instead of the traditional SVO syntax (subject, verb, object). So for example if he were to describe the difference between knowledge and wisdom, he might say, “Fruit, knowledge is knowing a tomato is; to include it in a fruit salad wisdom is knowing not”.
The question is, how do foreign translations handle this kind of script and are there any translations where Yoda’s incorrect syntax is emulated by using an English-like syntax?
Much thought and time has clearly gone into ‘translating’ Yoda for foreign audiences. While the word order may not always be the defining characteristic of his speech, in most foreign versions of all the Star Wars movies, he retains linguistic oddities that set him apart from everybody else.
The kind of skill needed to translate Yoda properly is high level linguistics. Let’s hope Hollywood employs the best translators it can find.
Sounds like a job for Living Word. It’s just the kind of work we relish!