Simlish, the pseudo-language of The Sims and various Sims spinoffs, injects a bit of extra character into these games while ingeniously avoiding the need to translate spoken words into different languages.

I get the impression that it's mostly improvised gibberish by the voice actors, but I've also heard that the musical guests are given sheets of Simlish lyrics when they re-record their songs for the games. This makes sense as it would help keep the language sounding consistent, but it makes me wonder how the translated lyrics come about. Do they have in-house people who improvise the song in Simlish, write it down, and give it to the artists to perform, or is there some automatic translation (software?) that converts English to Simlish? If the latter, wouldn't it be possible to translate it back for fun?

  • I couldn't find a general The Sims tag so I used these to help with searching etc. Feel free to change them. – Verge Dec 19 '11 at 2:35

Simlish is an entirely made up language, and though it is too piecemeal to be used as an actual artificial language (such as, say, Esperanto). It has some conventions and words, though an equal number of the syllables are utter nonsense.

The two words I can remember (from the Sims 2 developer Diaries) are:

"Chumcha", Simlish for Pizza, and "Nooboo" -- baby.

Wikipedia has a better article on it than my spotty memories:

The Sims development team created the unique Simlish language by experimenting with fractured Ukrainian, French, Latin, Finnish, English, Fijian and Tagalog.

Initially, inspired by the Native American code talkers of World War II, Sims creator Will Wright and language expert Marc Gimbel suggested experimenting with the Navajo language to create Simlish. However, they ultimately decided that Simlish worked best as a "language" made up of gibberish words that couldn't be translated, so that its meaning would be left open to the imagination of the player.

The Sims Wikia Wiki also has a list of known Simlish translations (though remember, most of the words are just improvized gibberish):

  • This doesn't really answer my question about the song lyrics, but I'll try to match the words on these lists with the songs to see if there really is a one-to-one correlation. – Verge Dec 22 '11 at 2:18

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