Star Wars has become the first major motion picture to be translated into a Native American language.
NPR chronicled the story of a Navajo family in New Mexico trying to keep the language alive in their home, so their children will speak their cultural tongue. Both parents and kids love Star Wars; though they use iPhone apps and Rosetta Stone to learn the language, they’re thrilled to be able to watch a movie they love and can recite—now in Navajo.
On July 3, the first installment 1977’s Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope will premiere dubbed in Navajo, a project by Manuelito Wheeler, director of the Navajo Nation Museum, who approached Lucasfilm and the Navajo Nation about the collaboration.
NPR reported that translating the film into Navajo was no easy feat:
Some words, like “droid,” [Wheeler’s wife, Jennifer, a translator on the film] says, are difficult to translate because of how complex the words are. “R2D2 would be the short metal thing that’s alive,” she says. So, the translation for droid? That won’t be revealed until the premiere.
Members of the Navajo Nation said they were pleased because the translation proves the Navajo language is still alive and viable — right now, in a galaxy very, very close by.