Category Archives: Aurebesh to English

Just Breathe

My pledge to take the week off has faltered yet again with the release of the trailer for The Last Jedi and its inclusion of Aurebesh on Finn’s medical pod.

Much of the text is so blurry and distorted that it is difficult if not impossible to decipher. Moreover, what is readable, specifically the sets of four characters that shift during the second or two this shot is on screen seem to be random characters. This information can easily be chalked up as medical jargon and acronyms obscure to all but the most seasoned of medical droids.

The information at the top of the red block, however, does seem to be translateable, and might constitute a very minor spoiler, so Caveat Clicktor!

As is often the case with Aurebesh ligatures, they are not used as letters but rather the English keyboard symbol that the font uses to generate them, so I translated the Cherek and Shen glyphs as brackets.

There seems to be more Aurebesh in white on the right side of the pod, but it is far too blurry for me to take a stab at.

To make sense of the Aurebesh in the screen shot, I did have to apply some technical jiggery-pokery in Photoshop. Even so this translation involves more guessing and perhaps wishful thinking than usual. Other translators may very well come to different conclusions.

 

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No TV Party Tonight

One of my favorite flashpoints is Kaon Under Siege. From its slow build to its crazy mutant-space-zombie apocalyptic climax, it’s an effective and thrilling bit of storytelling. One of Kaon’s most distinctive environments is the abandoned auditorium. Players often race through the theater quickly. pausing only to deal with a pair of rogue security droids patrolling the area. However, passing through an area that would normally be bustling but is currently devoid of life adds to the flashpoint’s mounting sense of unease. Prior to the arrival of the Rakghoul plague, I’m sure it was a lovely place to catch a holovid.

The auditorium’s screen features a large display that, as far as I can tell, appears nowhere else in the game. It has three sections of scrolling Aurebesh, several inset portraits of aliens and animated graphics of maps and geometric shapes.

The Aurebesh itself is non-specific and draws from SWTOR’s often used pool of mostly random text that can be seen around the galaxy, from the scrolling text that the bottom on the holonet newsfeed in the cut scene that introduces players to the Rakghoul Resurgence event to the Eternal Empire’s Zakuulan language monitors.

This translation includes all four repeating lines that are shared in the two side boxes as well as the crawl atop the screen. To add some visual variety to the repeating letters, the Aurebesh at the top of the graphic is mirrored, and the text in the side boxes is upside down. This technique is common both in SWTOR and in the Aurebesh seen in the Star Wars prequels.

There are items of interest in the content of the Aurebesh. First is the word “slothfurnace” which seems to be a reference to a real company that makes replica Star Wars props such as lightsabers and blasters. I suspect this secret bit of buzz marketing slipped by without official notice. Finally there is a long series of numbers in the first line of the side boxes. I can’t say for sure, but these digits look like a pair of dates to me: June 28, 1976 and November 16, 1977. A couple of birthdays perhaps?

 

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Falling Down a Bottomless Pit is Never Fatal

A friend of mine who got an invite to the PTS for the upcoming patch 5.2: The War for Iokath sent me this screenshot from the new daily area’s imperial quest hub. He doesn’t know Aurebesh, but figured I could translate it for him so I thought I’d give it a go.

At first glance this seems like a bog standard Imperial recruitment poster featuring one of the game’s most beloved Dark Lords. It’s topped with an invocation of the Sith code, but its tagline, however, is a different thing entirely. Not only does it have significant implications for the future of SWTOR but for the entire Star Wars saga.

Whether this is an inside joke for folks on the PTS or kind of a big spoiler, I cannot say. Click on the thumbnail and see the translation at your own risk. You’ve been warned!

 

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Put Another Credit in the Jukebox, Baby


If you’ve ever dropped a token in a cantina jukebox or have one as a stronghold decoration, you may have noticed that the monitor on the machine will light up with text when activated.

The three different screens that flash through display Aurebesh that, when translated, is revealed to be, not surprisingly, lists of songs, the machine’s playlist as it were.

Looking at the names of the songs, there are several items of interest. First, it’s amusing how easy it is to turn a line from the Star Wars movies into a convincing song title. “You know it to be true.” Is that a threat from a Dark Lord of the Sith, or a refrain from a love song? Context matters!

In addition, one of the songs in the listings is not just a KOTOR reference but an actual use of the term “KOTOR.” Whether this leaves your fourth wall shattered is up to you, but I’d say it barely counts as a crack.

Finally, it’s worth pointing out that many of the songs displayed on the jukebox are actual songs from the game’s soundtrack. They can be selected using the cantina jukeboxes and can be heard on the stronghold decoration versions as well.

On a related note, it’s not well known, but SWTOR’s wonderful soundtrack is available for download for free from swtor.com. My favorites are the tracks for Tython and Balmorra. It’s worth a listen!

 

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The Sith Empire Asks That You Stay Alert

This week, let’s look at two Alert posters that can be found on Dromund Kaas, a world that really knows how to make visitors feel welcome.

This notice is posted on many walls throughout the capital. At first glance it seems to be a pretty standard “If you see something, say something” poster not unlike one that might be seen in a major city or airport in this day and age, but the addition of the macrobinoculars makes it clear that not only do the Sith want you to keep an eye out for trouble, they actively want you to be spying on your neighbors, even at a great distance.

I’ve only seen this poster in one dark corner of Dromund Kaas and have tweaked the contrast to make it more readable. Again, this poster looks to be a typical “No trespassing” sign until you get to the last line. You’ve got to admire the efficiency of the Sith Empire. They won’t waste time threatening scofflaws with arrest, prosecution or imprisonment; instead they’ll just let you know that if you cross that line, they’ll kill you. No muss, no fuss. Somewhat ironically, this fenced off area can only be accessed by the Jedi Knight character during the climatic chapter of their class story.

 

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Give In To The Dark Side Of The Force, You Knob

Good day. Our topic today continues last week’s theme of Aurebesh signage inspired by movies. This one found on Corellia recalls the great tragedy of haunted Elsinore, with its murderous uncle, lost daughter, a mouse trapped in a bottle and a flying dog named “Hosehead.” I refer, of course, to the cinematic classic of the Great White North, Strange Brew.

The saga of Bob and Doug McKenzie has inspired a host of stories through the ages including Star Wars. George Lucas has often remarked that in his original vision, Obi-wan and Anakin’s final duel would take place on ice skates and involve hockey stick-shaped lightsabers and Force empowered cross-checking. Sadly, ILM had not yet mastered the technology of rendering digital ice so the entire sequence had to be scrapped and restaged with lava and higher ground. In a final twist of fate, a Betamax copy of Strange Brew fell through a rupture in the time-space continuum and emerged in Elizabethan England where it was discovered by a little known playwright and plagiarist, William Shakespeare. A mere hired player, Shakespeare only owned a VHS machine, so he was forced to crack open the cassette and studied the film frame by frame in order to reconstruct the story for a play he called Hamlet, a Danish word meaning “hoser.” Without access to the original dialogue, several historical inaccuracies made their way into Shakespeare’s “adaptation.” Had Rosencrantz and Guildenstern thought to save a jelly donut, for example, the young prince surely would’ve survived his ordeal. For this reason, Hamlet is typically dismissed by scholars as something between “Legends” and fan-fiction.

 

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A New Life Awaits You In The Off-World Colonies!

This week, let’s look at a couple posters, which can be seen throughout the galaxy. They advertise exciting getaways for vacations and new starts for the restless citizens of the Republic and Empire.

To me, this poster recalls the movie Bladerunner and its ambient and inescapable advertisements to escape to the off-world colonies. However, like the company towns of the old American west, the requirement of little to no credit, is almost certainly a double-edged sword.

The floating metropolis and the orange and red tones of the second poster are meant to evoke another movie, which is, of course, The Empire Strikes Back. Wookieepedia tells me that Bespin’s most famous port of call had not yet been constructed in the time of SWTOR, so I guess we should say this is a cloud city, not the Cloud City.

These two particular posters can be found in a ruined cantina on post-apocalyptic Ziost. I can only hope that a few lucky people were convinced to take leave of Ziost before that world met its tragic, final fate.

 

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Are You Experienced

As part of patch 4.7 last year, SWTOR introduced a new pack opening experience that included a number of quality of life changes to how items from Cartel Packs are acquired and stored. It also came with a brief animated sequence complete with Aurebesh readouts as each box disgorges its treasures.

I don’t open a ton of packs, but I recently remembered to snap a screen shot of the new animation. The information displayed includes the exact dimensions of a Cartel Pack and the steps needed to slice into each box of goodies. Sadly the security scan cannot reveal its contents prior to opening. If you want to know if you scored an awesome new lightsaber or just another pair of bronze pants, you’ll have to peak inside yourself.

 

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Corus Can’t

This week, let’s take a look at a sign that contains an infamous spelling error in which the proud capital of the Galactic Republic is misspelled “Coruscnat.” A second error even snuck into the small text at the base of the poster. For historical purposes I recreated the sign with the errors intact.

I point this out not to make fun of the mistakes. In my own work as a designer, I can admit that this sort of thing happens all the time, and I don’t even have the excuse of working with an alien language.

So how should we chalk this up? Human error? A catastrophic shattering of the players’ suspension of disbelief? Just another use of fake space letters to which the rules don’t apply? Or can we imagine that a minister at the Republic Bureau of Tourism and Trade fobbed off responsibility for the final review of a new advertising campaign on an intern who both did not speak Basic as a first language and also had hit the spice a little too hard the night before? Well, probably the first, but I can go with the last too.

Errors aside, this is a fun poster with a lot going on from the starbursts and speed lines to the bold swathes of color and distressed text.

The M logo which I’d previously thought simply applied to a random cosmetics company seems in fact to be the branding used by the Coruscant Market, and is seen on many posters around the Republic’s capital.

A second, similar poster uses many of the same elements as the first, but in a vertical layout. It does not contain the same spelling mistake, which perhaps proves that the good ol’ intern wasn’t completely asleep at the wheel.

 

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I’d Buy That For a Credit

I received a suggestion via twitter to take a look at the GTN screens, and as my consular often reminds me, “The Jedi way is to serve.”

The Aurebesh used on the four large monitors adorning the Galactic Trade Network kiosks seen on the Fleets, Nar Shaddaa, Odessan and possibly your stronghold is primarily used as a design element. While the screens can be translated into actual, though often fragmentary words, they don’t make sense in context.

Read a lot of Aurebesh displays in the game and you’ll eventually see a stock group of phrases repeated over and over. “Will proceed as scheduled.” “At full power” “All systems active.” There are many others. Fragments from these can be read in the two GTN screens featuring the weapon and armor graphics. This collection of phrases is SWTOR’s version of lorem ipsum. The nonsensical writing is meant to evoke the kind of text on monitors you’d see around the galaxy rather than have specific meaning.

The GTN’s other two large screens display a random selection of letters and numbers much like a stock market ticker. Similar information appears in the holographic “crown” rotating above the kiosk. Whether the letters and numbers have any significance I can’t say. Perhaps the artists snuck in their initials and birthdays, or just pulled them out of a hat. All I can say is that I know what I would’ve done.

This last screen is on the interface players click on to access the GTN, and it does contain text that makes sense in context. The monitor flashes through a variety of items while displaying sale, refund credit, and purchase labels and prices. When it comes to their customers the Hutt Cartel, which runs the Galactic Trade Network, wants to make it clear that they appreciate their patronage.

The War For Iokath

Thursday’s long awaited live stream finally gave us some details regarding the next major content patch for SWTOR. My first comment is that the broad strokes of what they announced absolutely should’ve been shared in October, if not sooner. Fans and subscribers should’ve not have had to wait until two months after the launch of the expansion to know that more story, a daily area and operation content are indeed coming. Certainly details surrounding the setting and story could’ve been held back, but, as both a fan of SWTOR and a guild officer trying to keep my friends engaged, I was very frustrated that KotET launched without even a hint of what the end game is to be. And, no, Galactic Command is not end game. Not even close.

Time gated raid content is not my favorite thing, but I agree that launching one boss at a time is preferable to delaying the whole thing until the autumn, so I will take what I can get.

I am looking forward to exploring Iokath and having a go at the Master chapters and uprisings. And, yeah, I’ll be charging into that Operations instance day one. If all I cared about was raiding, then I’d probably sit out the next few months, but if there is other new stuff to do, I’m on board. What I liked about KotFE is that that the chapters came at a steady and reliable clip, and in the meantime, it is up to Bioware to do the same and keep KotET interesting.

 

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