The other night my husband left a comment on my Facebook profile. It was completely incomprehensible and he grinned when I asked what it was. The gibberish was clearly meant to be a challenge, and if I wanted to read the message, I'd have to put on my thinking hat.
Turns out Bing now translates to and from Klingon.
QaparHa'qu' allegedly means, “I love you.” Isn't that sweet?
I don't imagine Klingons being big on tenderness, for all I know their concept of loving someone might be to kick the person in the guts, but the sentiment is still sweet.
I sometimes toy with Google translating sentences back and forth between Swedish and English. It does pretty well with simple stuff, but as soon as the text becomes a bit more complex or one word could be ambiguous in any way, the results turn into nonsense. Entertaining nonsense.
Good thing Klingon isn't a real intergalactic language, or we'd probably be screwed.
“Hello, we come in peace” might very well turn into, “Blue Pelican on the crosswalk silver chair,” or why not “Shoot to kill!”
Anyway, I admire the people who made Klingon up. I googled, and ended up on Wikipedia. Check this out: “Described in the 1984 book The Klingon Dictionary by Marc Okrand and deliberately designed to sound "alien", Klingon has a number of typologically uncommon features. The language's basic sound, along with a few words, was first devised by actor James Doohan ("Scotty") for Star Trek: The Motion Picture. That film marked the first time the language had been heard on screen. In all previous appearances, Klingons spoke in English. Klingon was subsequently developed by Okrand into a full-fledged language.”
From time to time I need a few lines in an alien language, and I just need to make something up that looks like words. Without exceptions, the task stumps me. To me, my imaginary languages look like a cat walked on the keyboard.
Marc Okrand invented an entire language and I can't make up a few sentences. Sheesh, what kind of writer am I?
There are a few lines of “alien” language in Operation Earth. Confession time: I cheated. I contacted a friend on Facebook who kindly translated my English to Turkish. I don't need to go to space to be unable to understand a word.
If aliens really were to invade the Earth, I hope they speak English.
roj yI'el maH. bach Hoch!!
(According to Bing, that means, “We come in peace. Shoot to kill!”)