Bing releases translation tool for Klingon


BERLIN, GERMANY - APRIL 29: (L-R) Zachary Quinto, director J.J. Abrams and actor Chris Pine attend the 'Star Trek Into Darkness' Press Conference at Hotel Adlon on April 29, 2013 (Sean Gallup/GETTY IMAGES FOR PARAMOUNT PICTURES)

Just in time for the next “Star Trek” movie, Bing has expanded the number of languages it will translate by two: The company translator now supports two versions of Klingon.

Users can translate English phrases into the language invented for the “Star Trek” universe. Searchers can find phrases in either Roman characters or written in the alphabet of the Klingon home world, Kronos.

Bing has made the tool available on the Web and also in an update to its translator app for Windows Phone 8.

The Microsoft search engine teamed up with Paramount Pictures and the Klingon Language Institute (yes, it really exists!) to offer the translations ahead of Thursday’s premiere of “Star Trek Into Darkness.” Klingons will be featured in the new movie, director JJ Abrams told MTV in February, and will have a “adversarial” role.

The addition of Klingon into Bing’s translator also means that users can convert entire Web pages into the fantasy language.

It should be noted that Bing is not the only search engine to offer translations of invented languages. Google offers translations to and from the “universal language” Esperanto .

Klingon was originally invented by Marc Okrand, a linguist who serves as a director of administration at the Virginia-based National Captioning Institute. He is also the president of the board at WSC Avant Bard, an Arlington-based theater company that, then under the name of the Washington Shakespeare Company, put on a 2010 production of “Hamlet” completely in Klingon. Okrand also had some involvement with the creation of another “Star Trek” language, Vulcan.

Okrand has said his original intent in making Klingon, which he invented for the third “Star Trek” movie, “The Search for Spock,” was not to make a full language, but simply enough dialogue for the movie. He based the language, in part, on the names of Klingon characters that appeared in the original “Star Trek” TV series episode “The Trouble with Tribbles.”

Since Okrand’s work in the movie, Klingon has continued to expand, and the Klingon Language Institute even publishes a “scholarly journal” devoted to the language called HolQed, which the group has registered with the Library of Congress.

But for those who love “Star Trek” but aren’t quite as interested in xenolinguisitics, the Bing tool should more than suffice for picking up a couple of good lines to share while you’re waiting in the ticket line.

“Qapla’,” translators. Knock yourself out.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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