Dune: A Subtitling Challenge Called Chakobsa

🎬 Why “Dune – Part Two” subtitles don’t tell the whole story – a subtitling challenge called Chakobsa.

✴ Frank Herbert was the author of the best-selling Dune series of futuristic novels. In his book, he described this fictional language, but didn’t create any grammar or vocabulary.

✴ David Peterson, a renowned conlanger (a fictional language creator), collaborated with Denis Villeneuve to create a vocabulary and pronunciation guide for the actors, bringing Chakobsa to life in the film.

✴ But, to accurately translate Chakobsa, you need more than just the literal meaning.

✴ The language even has idiomatic expressions. Villeneuve gives this example: there is a scene where the English subtitle is “You’re crazy”. This isn’t a literal translation; what is being said is “You’re drinking sand.”

✴ Drinking sand in the Arrakis desert must be the ultimate form of madness, said Villeneuve.

✴ And I agree. The expression holds a strong meaning for the Fremen, as water is a scarce and precious resource on their desert planet, Arrakis.

✴ Drinking sand, therefore, becomes a metaphor for utter madness, highlighting the cultural depth embedded within Chakobsa.

✴ Chakobsa shows us that language is more than just words. Language is a reflection of a culture’s values and experiences.

🌏 How does our language influence our understanding of the world?

Image by wirestock on Freepick