One of the hallmarks of Atlantis is that it features a whole new language, Atlantean, created specifically for the film. Marc Okrand, a linguist who helped create Klingon and Vulcan dialogue for the Star Trek universe, was brought on board to help bridge the communication gap.
Atlantis in Depth
Not simply a language concocted to allow for a few lines of dialogue, Atlantean is a full-blown language that has its own set of rules for writing and speaking. Taking a cue from a real-life archaic language, written Atlantean zig-zags down the page.
After a spate of controversies surrounding “hidden” images in prior films, the team went to great pains in hopes of avoiding any conspiracies or unfortunate coincidences with people trying to translate the Atlantean hieroglyphics.
As director Kirk Wise explained, “We’ve actually gone over all the Atlantean that’s written in the movie with a fine-toothed comb. We have double- and triple-checked just to make sure nothing ‘naughty’ slips in.
“The Atlantean that you see in the movie is kind of double-encrypted, so it’s going to be a real challenge for people to translate it. We wrote what we wanted to be on the murals and mosaics; we wrote it in English first. Then Marc Okrand translated it into spoken Atlantean. So we took that phonetic spelling of spoken Atlantean and translated that into the Atlantean alphabet.
“So you’ve got like three layers of encryption. It’s going to make it hard for anyone to decode, but I’m sure there will be people who will,” Wise admitted.