By Daniel Miller, LATimes
Trekkies looking to translate the famous Klingon battle cry Heghlu’meH QaQ jajvam! — or any other phrase from the fictional alien race’s language — will soon have a new tool at their disposal.
Starting on Tuesday, Bing, Microsoft Corp.’s Internet search engine, will include Klingon in its web-based translation service. The move is part of a broad marketing partnership between the Redmond, Wash., software giant and Paramount Pictures, which will release the upcoming “Star Trek Into Darkness.”
The Bing service will translate text written in any one of 41 supported languages — including English, French, Hebrew and Urdu — into Klingon. Fear not, native Klingon speakers: words or phrases written in that language can be translated into the more than three dozen available tongues.
(For what it’s worth, that Klingon battle cry translates into “Today is a good day to die!”)
Bing developed the translator with help from Microsoft engineer Eric Andeen, one of the few people in the world who speaks Klingon.
“We have people who understand the deep science of linguistics and we also have people who are passionate about the “Star Trek” franchise,” said Craig Beilinson, director of communications for Bing. “This was a labor of love from a lot of different avenues.”
Klingon was developed by linguist Marc Okrand, who based the language on vocabulary created by “Star Trek” actor James Doohan.
Doohan, who died in 2005, played Montgomery Scott in 1979’s “Star Trek: The Motion Picture.” The actor made up a handful of Klingon words for the film, which marked the first time the language was spoken in a movie. In addition to consulting Andeen, Bing worked with Okrand on developing the translator.
The Klingon translator will also be available on Bing’s Windows Phone application.
“Recognizing Klingon language on the Bing translator, along with other elements of this partnership, truly underscores the pop culture relevance of the film,” said LeeAnne Stables, executive vice president of worldwide marketing partnerships for Paramount.
In the early years of the “Star Trek” franchise, the Klingons were enemies of the members of the USS Enterprise. They later became the allies of humans.
The Bing translator isn’t the only tool “Star Trek” fans have at their disposal when it comes to the invented language: Okrand published “The Klingon Dictionary” in 1985.
And there are other Internet-based Klingon translators and language tools, which are largely operated by “Star Trek” fan sites. The Klingon Language Institute, a nonprofit corporation, publishes a quarterly academic journal, “HolQeD,” which delves into issues such as Klingon linguistics and culture.