back to article Bing uncloaks Klingon translator

Microsoft's ongoing efforts to top Google have seen it approach the final frontier, with a new service that translates written text from various terrestrial languages into the fictional language of Star Trek's Klingon race. The translator service will also be available from Bing's Windows Phone app. The introduction of the …


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  1. Charles Manning


    What's "Dear Aunt" in Klingon then?

    1. LarsG

      Re: So...

      So, pandering to a niche audience of 0.000000000098 of the worlds population will bring immense rewards...

      1. Chairo

        Re: So...

        So, pandering to a niche audience of 0.000000000098 of the worlds population will bring immense rewards...

        At least it brings publicity in the tech community. I guess that point has just been proven.

      2. DJO Silver badge

        Re: So...

        Interesting, given that there are about 7 bllion people on this rock, then you do realize that 0.000000000098 of 7 billion is less than one person, 0.686 people in fact, but there must be at least 4 people who would like this (Leonard, Sheldon, Raj and Howard).

        1. Martin Budden

          Re: So...

          You do realise that Leonard, Sheldon, Raj and Howard are not actually people?

          1. DJO Silver badge

            Re: So...

            You do realise that Leonard, Sheldon, Raj and Howard are not actually people?

            Well they're not antelopes, they have 2 arms & legs, 1 head and all the other bits. Now you might be supposing I am referring to some fictional characters perhaps in some American sit-com and I might, but I assure you there are some real people with those names so there again I might not. Leonard Nimoy for one might have some exposure to Klingon and I'm led to believe he's a real person (or at least as real as anybody in Hollywood)

  2. RISC OS

    And how many people will use that?

    Guess put the number of fluent klingon speaks to aroun 100 in the whole world, do 80% of them work at MS or something?

    What a waste of time and money

    1. Spoddyhalfwit

      Re: And how many people will use that?

      You're forgetting the millions of those on the Klingon home world who have it as their first language.

      1. Euripides Pants

        Re: And how many people will use that?

        Then Microsoft really should not do this. Next thing ya know Microsft will put out a Klingon language version of Windows which will undoubtedly cause an interplanetary war.

  3. Rampant Spaniel

    How about they throw some help to many of the endangered languages out there. North America has many of them and that's just a start. I'm sure Hawaiian, Navajo, Arapaho etc would all welcome the assistance. Plus the resources would be actually used rather than briefly screwed around with for a joke then forgotten.

    1. dogged

      Oh, come on.

      Think about it before you jerk your knee so hard that it snaps.

      What was this about? Nerds working at Redmond? I don't think there's any question of that.

      Serious attempt to provide a service on paid time? Unlikely.

      Proof-of-concept for transliteration engine in a language where you can't offend any native speakers with dodgy translations and/or nerdly hobbyists working unpaid overtime? Highly likely.

      1. Rampant Spaniel

        Re: Oh, come on.

        Or you could just do something useful. Either way.

        Using a genuine language would provide more chance for actually testing it properly, especially given the significantly greater library of works to source it from. If they wanted to offer a service they would find many native speakers would happily assist, just like we already do with google translate.

        1. kyza

          Re: Oh, come on.

          Or you could just do something useful. Either way.

          Or you could do something useful, like all that stuff you just said.

          Maybe start with Cornish.

          1. Rampant Spaniel

            Re: Oh, come on.

            I do, hence I know about working with google translate to get additional languages working :-)

          2. Michael Dunn


            Start with Cornish/French translation. When one says 'pasty' the other thinks of soemthing totally different!

      2. hplasm

        Re: Oh, come on.

        "Proof-of-concept for transliteration engine in a language..."

        Proof that you can put any old tosh in a Bing result, and no body will know if it's right or not, nor care...

      3. Fehu

        Re: Oh, come on.

        If you worked in IT, you'd know that about 60% of what we do is cover up so the boss thinks we're being productive. Like learning to sleep with your eyes open. And nodding and saying "Yes" every time they pause in whatever little speech they're making at the time. I for one applaud the softie that was goofing off, got caught out and parlayed the goof into a production project. This guy or girl is a true child of Wally.

  4. Shaun 2

    Well that has just put Nokia back in the running for my phone upgrade next month :)

  5. Pen-y-gors


    It doesn't support Welsh!

    1. Craig 2

      Re: 0/10

      Maybe they only want to support one pointless language?

    2. Horridbloke

      Re: 0/10

      But I thought Klingon WAS Welsh?

      1. GitMeMyShootinIrons

        Re: 0/10

        "But I thought Klingon WAS Welsh?"

        Nah, Welsh has less vowels.

        1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

          Re: 0/10

          Ignorance isn't funny

        2. Splodger

          Re: 0/10

          Klingons sing better, too.

        3. Martin Budden

          Re: 0/10 @ GitMeMyShootinIrons

          less ≠ fewer

          Nevertheless, point taken.

  6. G Watty What?
    Paris Hilton

    Dujeychugh jagh nIv yItuHQo

    I used Bing to translate the sub-heading 'Dujeychugh jagh nIv yItuHQo' to english and got:

    If the value of yituhxo, the enemy dujey

    I think something may have been lost in the translation because I don't think that will have Google quaking any time soon!

    Paris? Maybe she gets it, because I don't.

    1. hplasm

      Re: If the value of yituhxo, the enemy dujey

      Isn't that part of the Windows Source Code?

      It might explain why nobody can rewrite it...

    2. Coen Dijkgraaf

      Re: Dujeychugh jagh nIv yItuHQo

      Yes I got that too, and it's auto-detect of Klingon doesn't work either, it usually thinks it is either Hungarian or French.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    After translating into Klingon

    you can paste it here.

  8. Mark Simon


    Traditionally “Hindu-Arabic” is used to describe our numbering system (counting in 10s, using the digits 0 - 9), which was adapted from the Arabic world, in turn adapted from India.

    Unless the service translates everything to a numeric code (possibly unicode?), perhaps “Roman” characters, which is used to describe the alphabet we English-speaking mortals generally use, is meant.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hindu-Arabic?

      Haha, I was going to mention this. Use your brain Simon, last time I checked, Arabic and Hindi both had their own scripts which look nothing like our alphabet.

      1. Michael Dunn

        Re: Hindu-Arabic? @ Murph

        Nor each other!

  9. This post has been deleted by its author

  10. Admiral Grace Hopper

    I'd rather have a Klingon Clippit. "It look like you're declaring war on a neighbouring star system. Would you like help?".

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It look like you're declaring war on a neighbouring star system. Would you like help?

      "It look like you're declaring war on a neighbouring star system. Would you like help?"



  11. Alan Gauton

    Not Translation, but search

    On the other hand, Klingon has been supported in Google's search engine for years. I'm sure they've supported it since 2007 or earlier.

  12. Gordon Pryra

    Good Old Microsoft

    I've successfully used Google translate to migrate legacy domains to new active directory domains on Hotels in China remotely. Multiple times.

    Neither side could speak the other sides language.

    It worked well.

    I don't understand the need for companies to try to do the same as their competitors when they can't do the job better. Maybe if there was a financial reason for people to use a Microsoft product like this then they may have a case.

    But Google is free and Microsoft will never make a product as good as Google are giving away. If they did then Microsoft would probably price themselves out of the market.

    I understand that the whole Klingon thing is probably a pet project of some engineers, which is fun, but in general it just more wasted time.

  13. Lamb0

    Good Old Microsoft

    Sure enough, Bing Translate FAILS, yet Google search succeeds - though they're pushing the Windows translation software Babylon 10.

  14. Ming

    Wot no voice file?

    It's amusing but really needs a voice file for full entertainment value.

    1. Ming

      Re: Wot no voice file?

      Hmm... comment from Matt Wallaert about no Klingon voice file: "Yet. =]"

  15. Thomas 4

    Don't be so quick to mock

    I wonder why it is that so many people are laughing at this idea. Developing a new language is an extraordinary feat. It could have an enormous amount of application in encryption - remember how the Navajo language was used in WWII? In addition, creating a language also gives linguistics scholars insights into how ancient languages rose and evolved over time. Yes, a language that evolves from a fictional universe will never have as much day to day value as a language that evolved in the real world - but it's far from a frivolous exercise.

    1. Rampant Spaniel

      Re: Don't be so quick to mock

      fwiw I wasn't mocking, I just felt it was a great chance wasted. As regards the ww2 codespeakers, bing translating would negate part of the advantage of the code. Admittedly it was hard to crack even if you knew the language but as we saw with Midway, that also isn't a safe bet. Klingon has virtually no use as a cipher because anyone can learn it and there is no kauna (hidden meaning or subtext is probably the closest in English). The beauty of Navajo was that to speak it properly you almost certainly had to speak it from birth, there were a limited number of speakers and even if you captured one they were large useless because they invented and reinvented their own codes anyway. They were absolute legends, true heroes.

      Without wanting to get too serious, language is a very important part of a persons cultural identity. People who feel they have lost their cultural identity and have it 'replaced' are often more prone to social issues. Language, art (music and visual) and food all form really important parts of a persons cultural identity and help shape their values. Wales is an amazing example of sustaining a cultural identity, even if it is partially to stick two fingers up at the English, I have the upmost respect for them.

      Google actually does a lot to help at risk languages and once it has a large enough volume of vetted translations it includes extra languages. People can contribute to helping this happen. Yes this is done to make them more money, but they have gone a long way to engaging communities and assisting in the process.

      What MS did isn't bad, I just think they could have done something very significant, especially given Bill's foundation works on education.

      1. Stuart Castle Silver badge

        Re: Don't be so quick to mock

        On the other hand, Bing Translate was probably designed by a load of geeks.. I think it's a fair bet that at least one would be able to get hold of an English to Klingon dictionary (or some Klingon text and the associated English translation) relatively easily. That isn't necessarily so with more culturally important languages.

    2. Nigel 11

      Enormous feat?

      There are recent instances of new languages arising quite spontaneously, when groups of people without a common language find it necessary to communicate. Tok Pisin (Papua New Guinea, "pidgin english") is perhaps the newest. English itself was once such a language, born of mutual incomprehension between Norman French invaders and Anglo-Saxon natives. It's since evolved in a different direction to both parents, most noticeably by progressively jettisoning its formal grammar.

      There's also a new sign language, born of deaf children being dumped in orphanages and left to rot (i.e. given no guidance on existing sign or other languages. So they invented one.)

  16. Michael H.F. Wilkinson

    What next?

    Sindarin? Quenya?

    Brindisian? Klatchian?

    Mine is the one with Jingo! in the pocket

  17. plrndl

    Alien Invasion

    I always wondered what planet these people were from. Now we know where W8 comes from.

    In retrospect, it was always obvious that Balmer wasn't one of us. He's part of the advance party to colonise our planet.

    1. Rampant Spaniel

      Re: Alien Invasion

      More likely the Canary they sent to see if the atmosphere was toxic.

  18. lawndart

    Useful translations

    Dog to Human?

    Dog: "Arf bark yap yap whine (tail wag) howl".

    Army recruiting sergeant: "He wants to enlist. Apparently he's been ordered to die for the Queen"

    Human to Cat?

    "Oh, apparently pulling the roast chicken off the kitchen table and tucking in wasn't considered a nice thing to do. Won't do that again, then."

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    req list for bing trans app lang pairs

    Klingon into Elfian

    Or Elvish.

    Or Irish ;)

  20. andy gibson

    Lost in translation

    Hello - English to Kingdom = qavan

    qavan - Klingon to English = Hi baby

    Can't imagine saying that to Worf without being "killed where you stand".

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It is a disaster, but more than that, death, jim

    Wow, the Klingons must think one hit wonders from the 1980's are seriously wierd. It's worth working through to removal of Klingons from the starboard bow....

  22. Not_The_Droids

    Maybe now I can work on my pick up lines for Lursa and B'Etor. Rowwr.

    I'm the one with the device.

  23. prufrax

    The only Klingon you ever need to know...

    yIn yISuq

    1. Captain DaFt

      Re: The only Klingon you ever need to know...

      "is how to fight and die with honor."

  24. Dr_N


    I can just picture the development team now: inspired by the life-sized Star Trek character cardboard cut-outs filling their cubes.

  25. dssf

    Kam-chehh chimeechek!

    Earther: KAM-CHEHH ChimeeCHEK!

    Gowron: You swear WELL in Klingon, Picard.

    (I think he offered him Klingon Blood Wine, or maybe the scene cut to a commercial break/ad insertion, hehehe).......

  26. Old Handle

    Qap nIS

    It's great that Bing supports Klingon. Now I can talk to all my Klingon friends without having to learn their language. → 'oH Dun tlhIngan ngaq bing. DaH laH jIjatlhpu' Hoch tlhIngan jupwI' Hutlh vay' Holchaj ghoj. →

    the Klingon is a Wonderful support bing. Now you can all Klingons speak a friend Without anyone in their Language.

  27. Beridhren the Wise

    What? No Elvish?

    Shame on Microsoft!

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