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Huttese Translator Rings

September 26, 2013

huttese_translator_rings1

Since I am a translator of Japanese and a fan of Jabba the Hutt, I found it very difficult to resist a product called a “Huttese Translator Ring” (although it’s more of a decoder ring than a “translator” ring.) I’m fascinated by writing systems in general, but I hadn’t given much thought to how Huttese was written down before. Here’s what I found after a little research. The alphabet used on these rings is called “Trade Huttese” and is supposedly a simplified version of the written language used when Hutts are dealing with outsiders.

In reality, it was created by Eric Larson for a game on a Pizza Hut box used during the 1997 release of the “Special Editions” of the Star Wars films. Called “Jabba’s Alphabet,” the alphabet was based on  Hebrew and was really just a code-breaker activity for kids. The alphabet was apparently also used in the 2002 video game “Star Wars: Racer Revenge,” but that seems to be it. A completely separate Huttese alphabet (sometimes called Nal-Huttese) was created for The Phantom Menace, and can be seen on some of the podracer control screens and even on Anakin’s podracer itself. It’s a more curved and complex script:

podracer_huttese

My feeling is that the pizza box version of the script was retconned into “Trade Huttese” after they created the version used in Episode One. Why they chose to use this obscure version of the language for these rings rather than the one used in the movie is a bit of a mystery, but it may simply be due to the fact that a complete alphabet isn’t available in Nal-Huttese — at least not an official one. There are some Nal-Huttese fonts and character charts available on the net, but these all seem to be fan-made and are not necessarily canonical. At least the “Trade Huttese” alphabet appeared in an official product, albeit a pizza box.

It’s a little too bad they couldn’t have used Nal-Huttese, since it looks cool while Trade Huttese looks very similar to Aurebesh (they also made a translator ring for that, by the way). Then again, Nal-Huttese would be very difficult to write and decipher, so if you wanted to actually use the ring to write some secret messages, Trade Huttese would be the better choice.

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The rings themselves are “spinner” rings, made from two concentric rings so that the outer ring can spin freely, allowing you to spin it around to see all sides of the ring easily. But even though I ordered the “Large” version, I found they were just slightly too small for me. I can get them on easily enough, but getting them off is another matter. The “spinner” feature makes things difficult since you can’t really twist the ring to get it off your finger.

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I wasn’t really planning on wearing these anyway, so I’ll be putting them on my shelf along with some of my other rings. (I have silver rings from JAP Inc. of Jabba the Hutt, Bib Fortuna and the Rancor, plus unlicensed rings of Bib Fortuna and Gamorrean Guard.)

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 27, 2013 3:33 am

    They’re both quite nice. A great idea.

  2. October 8, 2013 12:39 am

    I use Trade Huttese all the time. Easier to write with and in my free time invented a cursive form of it.

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