Case Study
iProbe translates film dialogue in the Inuit dialect of Northern Greenlandic

a photo of qanaaq landscape

Qaanaaq, formerly Thule or New Thule, with a population of just over 600 is the main town in the northern part of the Qaasuitsup municipality in northwestern Greenland. It is one of the northernmost towns in the world.

the client's need

we helped with

New York-based film producer, Gil Kruger needed dialogue translations and coaching from English into Northern Greenlandic for his project, Piquo, so that his actors could accurately recreate the spoken dialect of the Arctic Inuit community the film's story was set in.

Written by New York University Film School graduate Paul Yee, Piquo is a light-hearted tale with bittersweet undertones. A shy, young, Inuit girl, Piquo, lives in the sparsely populated Tundra and attends high school in the Arctic. With just five students in her class, finding a date for the prom is an issue. Piquo doesn’t leave her Tundra home on the day of the prom, but as afternoon passes into evening, she decides to attend.

the challenge

Though the film's story was fictional, the town it was set in - Qanaaq - is real. It's an Arctic Inuit community of 650 people who speak Northern Greenlandic, an Inuit dialect.

Film producer Gil Kruger planned to have the film subtitled (not dubbed). To ensure authenticity and credibility, he was adamant that the actors not only speak Inuit, but also use the appropriate Northern Greenlandic pronunciation as well. Despite the Arctic setting, the film was to be shot entirely in Massachusetts and New York.

Kruger placed a newspaper ad in Shooters hoping to find an Inuit translator who could speak the dialogue in Northern Greenlandic. He knew it was going to be very hard to find that kind of talent in New York. Luckily, iProbe responded to the ad.

iProbe in action

We found a translator who was fluent in English and was originally from a remote village in Northern Greenland. The translator provided spoken translations of the film's dialogue in accurate Northern Greenlandic, for the actors to mimic as closely as possible.

In addition, we located a native Northern Greenlandic speaker to narrate the story as required by the script.

a map with qaanaq<

a map of Qaanaaq.

the end result

The talent we were able to locate and assign to the project helped ensure that the film's dialogue would come across as authentic.

Producer Gil Kruger said:

Working with iProbe was very easy. I was impressed that they offered me a range of dialects from which I could choose. iProbe accommodated our unusual translation needs on schedule and on budget. I don’t know how they were able to find such a unique translator, but I am very pleased that they did!”

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