Sunday, September 19, 2021
Sept. 19, 2021

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Illinois agency’s website offers Klingon translation

The Columbian

If you wanted to ask an Illinois Department of Employment Security professional how to appeal a denied claim — in Klingon — you would say: vaj tem DoQ, chay’ Qu’ appeal?That means, if my claim is denied, how do I appeal?

You can learn how to ask many questions in Klingon – an unofficial language created for humanoid characters in the “Star Trek” television series and movies – on the IDES website. The site offers translations via Microsoft Translator. The current options are Spanish, Polish, Simplified Chinese, Russian and Klingon.

The Klingon translation started out as a promotion for the “Star Trek Into Darkness” movie that premiered in May. It has remained long after the movie release because the department received positive feedback from some who found it humorous. It also has managed to draw more traffic to the department’s website, spokesman Greg Rivara said.

“We kept it up because every now and then, people notice it, and whenever people are drawn to our website to see the benefits that we offer, that’s a good thing,” Rivara said.

The unique language doesn’t cost the department any money: Rivara said the Microsoft translation service is free. While the 280 or so pages on the department’s website can be automatically translated, department staff members review each page in each language for accuracy and nuance. The department did not take time to review Klingon – so some words, like “appeal” and “unemployment,” don’t translate on the site.

“To the best of my knowledge, we don’t have any certified Klingon translators on staff,” Rivara said.