In the 2017 novel Thrawn, we find that Sy Bisti is a language used around the parts of the Galaxy known as Wild Space and the Unknown Regions. Throughout the novel, it is brought up that Imperial droids are not programmed with the language.
Barris snorted. "Hard to image a standard for a language so obscure that even the droids don't bother with it.
Eli held his tongue. Sy Bisti was actually a perfectly well-defined and eminently useful language. It was the people who still used it, and the worlds they lived on, that were obscure.
I understand that Sy Bisti is an obscure language, and that a general Imperial ship might not normally have a droid that can speak that language.
But later on, we get a statement that seems absolutely incredible to me:
But the pirates had a card of their own to play. Leaning close, they began speaking softly together.
In a language they would have learned growing up in Wild Space. A language that was used only there and in the Unknown Regions. A language that had never been programmed into Republic or Imperial translators or protocol droids. A language they could reasonably expect no Imperial had ever even heard of.
This doesn't seem to be an exaggeration either. Thrawn requests Eli be assigned to him as a translator, and nobody suggests just requisitioning a protocol droid that can speak Sy Bisti.
This seems pretty ludicrous to me that not a single Republic or Imperial droid has ever been programmed with Sy Bisti. After all:
- Eli Vanto, a human speaker of Sy Bisti, is part of a family of traders who works at least partly in Imperial space. Presumably they would need droids.
- There is an Imperial Academy in the region of space where Eli is from. Surely they would deal with traders such as Eli's family, or someone else who spoke the language. Programming it into droids makes sense.
- The pirates who spoke Sy Bisti were successors to Q'anah's Marauders, which operated in the Mid Rim and other areas under both Republic and Imperial control. Presumably they, or someone they worked with, would have found it desirable to have a droid that could speak the language.
- If nothing else, there has got to be a Sy Bisti to Basic dictionary that somebody has made, and in an era of datapads and holograms, I don't see why it would be much effort to have a droid learn from that.
- Once any of these droids has the Sy Bisti language programmed into it, it seems trivially easy to copy that to other droids.
Are any of these assumptions wrong? Why wasn't Sy Bisti been programmed into any Republic or Imperial protocol droids?