SHIPROCK — Hard to translate into Navajo, Star Wars is. But not impossible.
Every quote that Star Wars geeks thought they knew from the first-ever film in the series, "Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope," will be translated into the native Navajo language, Dine.
It will be the first major motion picture to be translated and then voiced-over in the language.
"It is one of the best movies of all time," said Manuelito Wheeler, director of the Navajo Nation Museum.
Navajo Nation Museum and the Parks and Recreation Department recently teamed up with Lucasfilm, which gave the tribe permission to dub the film. Lucasfilm produced the original movie in 1977, as well as the series that followed.
The effort aims to encourage the Navajo people to learn the language or continue speaking it.
"Youth around the world have been inspired by the theme of Star Wars that every individual has the power within them to become a hero," said spokeswoman for Lucasfilm Lynne Hale in a phone interview Tuesday. "We are thrilled that the youth of the Navajo Nation will now see the film in their native tongue."
The Navajo Nation is the first Native American tribe to dub the film into its own language, though worldwide the movie has been shown in more than 50 other languages, Hale said.
The Dine version is scheduled to debut July 4 at the Navajo Nation Fair in Window Rock, and the tribe is hoping to show it in area theaters later in the year.
Whether people will be able to ever purchase a copy of it is not yet known.
"Anything's possible," Wheeler said.
Auditions for voice-over actors are scheduled from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. May 3 and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. May 4 at the Navajo Nation Museum in Window Rock. Those interested can call 928-871-7941 to book a time slot. Walk-ins also are welcome.
The script already is translated though words like light saber took a little more thought and actors and actresses will be expected to be fluent in Din and be able to act.
Actors and actresses chosen for the parts including Darth Vader, Princess Leia, Han Solo, C-3P0, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Grand Moff Tarkin will record their parts in a studio owned by Knifewing Productions in Gallup.
"I'm not such a big fan of Star Wars, but I do know the magnitude it will have," said Knifewing Segura, the owner of the production company.
Segura will be in charge of the recording, and Deluxe Digital Studios, a production company based in Hollywood, Calif., will be in charge of sound editing. Lucasfilm will assist in the process by sending Deluxe all of the other sound elements needed to dub the film.
The editing will be professional, and it is hoped that the Din language will fit smoothly into the conversations on screen.
"They will make sure that it looks good," Segura said.
Wheeler said the tribe could not release any of the translated script and could not disclose the tribe's investment in the project.
Jenny Kane can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; 505-564-4636. Follow her on Twitter @Jenny_Kane.