Klingon isn’t just a a few grunted words said in your favorite Star Trek episode or movie; it’s an entire language, created by linguist Marc Okrand. He’s done such a complete job of creating the fictional language that he’s been asked to advise actors playing Klingons in the various Trek incarnations on how to speak it properly.
Today, the folks at Microsoft are partnering with Okrand and having a little fun with the language. In support of the release of Star Trek Into Darkness, the show is doing a “takeover” of the software giant’s Bing service, with one of its biggest features being a Klingon translator. In the examples above, for instance, you’ll see what Fast Company’s website would look like translated into Klingon.
Adding Klingon to the Bing Translator is one of the new features Trek fans will enjoy on Bing and MSN. Bing’s Snapshot feature will give fun, Klingon-centric responses to queries such as “who said live long and prosper?” MSN will have headlines that might have appeared had it been part of the Trek universe, such as “First Vulcan Comedian Ever Tells A Vulcan Joke, Crowd Infinitely Confused.” Other Easter eggs will be hidden on both sites.
According to Matt Wallaert, Bing’s behavioral scientist, the effort came together from different teams within Microsoft, mostly in the past few weeks. The idea is for users to connect to the fact that Microsoft has helped make things like universal translators, tablets, and other technologies–that were science fiction in the franchise’s formative years–into science fact today.
While they do want to “make inroads” with the franchise’s devoted fans, says Wallaert, MS feels the group they’re aiming for is much larger. “I think that this sort of effort goes beyond the hardcore fan. I mean, this is the second blockbuster Star Trek movie in four years,” he says.”There are millions of more casual fans out there who have seen the show and for whom the ability to take out a Windows Phone 8, point it at a sign in Klingon, and get back a solid translation is not just about Star Trek fandom, but about the incredible things that technology has achieved.”
There is no measure of success, says Wallaert, that will determine whether other “takeovers” will happen; they just want people to enjoy themselves. “I think we want people to laugh and smile and enjoy what we’ve created. A tremendous number of people have put in a tremendous amount of effort. It really is a labor of love, and we want that to shine through.”
[Klingon Alphabets Images via Wikipedia]