What Was the Other Translator’s Version of the Sanskrit Word for War?

Arrival (2016), directed by Denis Villeneuve, is an adaptation of a science fiction novella by the American writer Ted Chiang. The film is regarded as one of the best sci-fi films due to its gripping storyline, superb visuals, and brilliant screenplay by Eric Heisserer. 

Louise, played by Amy Adams, gets rejected by the military as the lead translator earlier in the film, then she asks the Colonel-in-charge to ask the Sanskrit word of war to the other translator. 

After a few moments, the military appoints Louise as the lead translator after she informs them that her translation is something like a desire for more cows, presumably because the other translator failed their test.   

After this scene, many fans were eager to know about the other translator’s answer and why it was significant in the movie. Let us discuss the possible translation said by the other translator and its significance in the movie.

What Was the Other Translator’s Version of the Sanskrit Word for War in the Arrival Film?

Louise says गविष्टि (gaviṣṭi) is the Sanskrit word for the war, which translates as the desire for more cows. Though, according to Wiktionary and learnsanskrit.cc (English – Sanskrit dictionary), युद्ध (yuddha) is the Sanskrit word for war. In a broader sense, both translated words might be considered the apt Sanskrit translation of the word war. 

The makers never explicitly revealed the translated word said by the other translator in the movie. So, it might be possible that the other translator may have answered something like a disagreement or an argument based on a few fan theories. 

Some viewers assume that Colonel Weber rejected the other linguist because his Sanskrit translation of war is an argument. So, a person like him would think that the only danger is a spat or a misunderstanding, and getting misinterpreted while communicating with aliens could end badly.

On the other hand, Dr. Louise Banks’s answer demonstrated how greed and status competition could lead to war, which might have impressed Colonel Weber. 

She set up the other linguist and impressed Colonel Weber by exhibiting that one must translate the meaning behind the word rather than deciphering only the word. and getting misinterpreted while communicating with 

What Is the Linguistic Challenge Louise Uses at the Beginning of “Arrival”?

Dr. Louise Banks uses the following linguistic challenge at the beginning of Arrival:

Dr. Louise Banks: Before you commit to him, ask him the Sanskrit word for “war” and its translation.

It is a way to test the qualifications of the other linguist. Later in the movie, she answers the same question.

Colonel Weber: He says it means an argument. What do you say it means?

Dr. Louise Banks: It means a desire for more cows.

This scene and the conversation show that Dr. Banks has better cultural and linguistic understanding than the other linguist. As a military handler, Dr. Banks demonstrated that she could deliver more precise translations than the other linguist.