May the Fourth be With You...

A Guide to Chinese Star Wars

My first memories of Star Wars was not on the big screen. Instead, I read a Chinese comic book version of the movies when I was little. (If you’re interested, Nick Stember has translated the comics and shared them on his website. If you're a Star Wars fan learning Chinese you cannot miss this!). In this early forms of Chinese comic books, the authors had never watched the actual films, so the Chinese comic books had their own look and feel. Check out this very feminine and proud Princess Leia! They did get some details right, but maybe they thought Princess Leia was not “princess-y” enough? 

Chinese Star Wars Phrases

First off, Star Wars, 星球大战 xīng qiú dà zhàn,or 星战 xīng zhàn for short. 

The good news is, most names are phonetically translated! So if you hear something familiar but with a Chinese pronunciation, it’s likely that you can guess who they’re talking about. Some characters names are basically the same in Chinese and English!

Yoda
尤达 yóu dá
Han Solo
汉·索洛 hàn suǒ luó
Darth Vader
达斯·维德 dá sī wéi dé
Princess Leia
蕾亚公主 léi yà gōng zhǔ(公主gōng zhǔ means princess)
Chewbacca
丘巴卡 qiū bā kǎ
Jabba the Hutt
赫特人贾巴 hè tè rén jiǎ bā ( jiǎ bā is the name, hè tè is the name of the species, rén means person)
Boba Fett
波巴·费特 bō bā fèi tè

In some Chinese translations, the names actually have meanings! It's the beauty of Chinese characters - one character can be one syllable with various meanings.

Luke Skywalker
卢克·天行者 lú kè tiān xíng zhě(天 tiān, sky; 行 xíng, to walk; 者 zhě, person, -er)
Jedi
绝地 jué dì, means impasse, dead end in Chinese. It usually comes with 武士 wǔ shì (warrior) as 绝地武士 jué dì wǔ shì and it sounds pretty cool!
Millennium Falcon
千年隼号 qiān nián sǔn hào, 千 qiān - thousand, 年 nián - year, 隼 sǔn - falcon, 号 hào - XXX号,nick name, mark, sign, indicates names of ships, trains, airplanes and spaceships!
The Force
原力 yuán lì - again, word by word, the original force, the source of all forces.
Death Star
死星 sǐ xīng, a literal translation, word by word.

See? It's not too hard after all! For more info see www.starwarfans.cn. Its a Chinese Star War fan created a website with a complete "Wookiepeida" in Chinese and English!

May the Force be with You!

愿原力与你同在!

Yuàn yuán lì yú nǐ tóng zài!


An Yi, Emily and Maria's classmate for four years, does social media management in the U.S. for GoEast and writes for their blog. She taught Chinese in American high schools for two years and is now settling down in Texas, looking forward to be a Chinese teacher at local schools again.