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Planning to see the new Star Wars film next month? Goodness, what a coincidence… so are my son and I. And as keen linguists, we’re both excited about the fact that Google has just powered up its Aurebesh translation service.
Aure-what? Really, where have you been since… well, a long time ago? Aurebesh is the written form of Galactic Basic, the lingua franca in the Star Wars universe. Conveniently enough, Galactic Basic (or simply “Basic” to its friends) sounds just like English to English-speaking cinema audiences – and, I’m told, like French to Gallic popcorn-munchers, etc.
As you may have already gathered, therefore, Aurebesh doesn’t actually require translation to and from English. What Google are doing is more properly known as transliteration – the process of converting from one script to another by simply switching between (in this case) Roman and Aurebesh characters using what codebreakers would refer to as a “substitution cipher”. So here’s a test – using the table above, can you decipher the following passage in Aurebesh?
We’ve said it before, there’s no doubt Google Translate does occasionally have its uses (like when you need a quick idea of roughly what some foreign text means)… but what if you need translation you can actually rely on without embarrassing you and your business? Well, in that case, this is the service you’re looking for.