Lemet Máhtte (20) translated popular game into Sami: – Always wanted to play in my own mother tongue

It was NRK Sápmi who first mentioned the case.

– I’ve always wanted to play in my own mother tongue, says Sara to iTromsø.

That a friend who took Sami education wanted more ways to learn the language became a trigger for the 20-year-old to embark on the great translation job, which now allows anyone who wants to play the game in North Sami.

NOW PLAYERS CAN SELECT SAMIC: Those who play Minecraft can now choose Sami as the language of the game. Photo: Screenshot

– A friend wanted to learn more Sami. We both play Minecraft, but it was not possible to play in Sami. That gave the motivation to start with the translation, says Sara.

Got help from grandparents

Minecraft is an open-world sandbox game where imagination is the greatest constraint on what to do. Players can collect countless materials and build constructions, fight enemies and various bosses. The game has become one of the most popular ever since its launch in 2009.

– The most challenging was to translate words that have no direct meaning in Northern Sami. Then I got the help of my grandparents and others to find the best translation, says Sara.

Words without directly translated meaning

He points out “single player” as difficult to translate. The choice fell on iežainis spealli, which can be translated into solitary player or by himself.

– For expressions that are unique to the game, the solution was to look at their role and translate according to how they affect the game, says Sara.

Translated from the student suite

Sara has lived in Bjerkvik outside Narvik for the past few years. He has lived in Tromsø before, and moved back last year to study drone technology at UiT.

– It has been a bit challenging to combine it with the studies, which is why it has also taken a period of eight months. The translation has been a break between tough study periods. So I have spent a lot of time here in Tromsø and translated in my spare time, says Sara.

– Hope teachers can use the game to explore the language

The 20-year-old now hopes the job he has done can be used by educators so that children can have a relationship with Northern Sami on a platform they already know.

– I imagine that you can learn words and expressions you didn’t know before, says Sara.

– I also hope Norwegian teachers can use the game to explore the North Sami language. It can help the children understand that Sami is not so foreign, says Sara.

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