Before we begin with this week’s trivia, I must say that I am very disappointed in all of you. Not a single person turned in their homework assignment! At the end of last week’s post, I mentioned that you should try to create a pangram of your own, but I didn’t get any submissions. For shame. Here’s the one I came up with: Hipsters quaff expensive kombucha, unfazed by low judgement. Anyways, we’ve had two weeks worth of English language-related posts. How about one about bad English?
The priest at the church I went to in my hometown used to like coming up with all sorts of clever phrases and acronyms for things. Some of them worked well and others, well, didn’t. One which was pretty memorable was that you should be a “Jedi for Jesus” rather than a “Clone for Christ”. His point was that you should be attentive and engaged with what you do, rather than being a passive participant. “Jedi” and “Clone” may have also been acronyms, I don’t remember. He liked acronyms a lot, perhaps even more so than astronomers do.
Turns out he may have been on to something with that statement, though. It turns out that the Jedi actually work for the Presbyterian Church. At least, according to a little-known piece of Star Wars canon – Star War The Third Gathers: Backstroke of the West is concerned.
Now, those of you who are unfamiliar with Star Wars have probably never heard of this one. And those of you who love it so much that you continue to consume the new stuff made by Disney have probably also never heard of it. And that’s not too surprising. Because Backstroke of the West is actually the English translation of a bootleg Chinese copy of Star Wars Episode 3. This copy had English subtitles that were machine-translated (e.g. Google Translate) from the Chinese speech, rather than being taken from the English script. As a result, it is full of hilarious mistranslations. For example:
- Characters often have very strange names, because their names were reproduced phonetically, but with sometimes strange characters. “Anakin Skywalker” is “Allah Gold”, “Obi-Wan” is “Ratio Tile”, and “Yoda” is “Vanquish is”.
- Darth Vader’s iconic “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!” becomes “Do not want”.
- Obi-Wan’s simple “Hello there” is “Everyone is good”.
- Anakin meant “I have the high ground”, but said “The geography that I stands compares you superior”.
- “May the Force be with you” is “The wish power are together with you”.
- And finally, in reference to the title, the Jedi Council is called the “Presbyterian Church” (a mistranslation of “council of elders”).
Now, is this something that is going to come up at trivia night? No, probably not. But I recently discovered that someone made an incredibly good dub of the translation, and it is hilarious. It’s available on YouTube, at least until the copyright lawyers sniff it out. I recommend watching it while you can. If you’ve never seen Star Wars before, perhaps this is how you start.
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