No, we're still not gonna see Klingon in Unicode (Pssst! Don't tell Shawn!)

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2011/06/05 07:01 -04:00, original URI:

After Klingon was officially rejected from Unicode (as I hinted at previously in Fictional could make things less functional), we all thought we'd heard the last of it.

Well, not all all of us.

Just those of us with whom i find myself most comfortable hanging around. :-)

Then just yesterday Karl Williamson sent the following to The Unicode List:

I just found out about the information contained in the article linked
to below.  I wonder if people knew about this when it was decided to not
encode Klingon:

Klingon interpreter needed for social work

May 12 2003 at 10:12am


Portland, Oregon - Position Available: Interpreter, must be fluent in Klingon.

The language created for the Star Trek television series and movies is one of about 55 needed by the office that treats mental health patients in metropolitan Multnomah County.

"We have to provide information in all the languages our clients speak," said Jerry Jelusich, a procurement specialist for the county's department of human services, which serves about 60 000 mental health clients.

Although created for works of fiction, Klingon was designed to have a consistent grammar, syntax and vocabulary.

And now Multnomah County research has found that many people - and not just fans - consider it a complete language.

"There are some cases where we've had mental health patients where this was all they would speak," said the county's purchasing administrator, Franna Hathaway.

Officials said that obligates them to respond with a Klingon-English interpreter, putting the language of starship Enterprise officer Worf and other Klingon characters on a par with common languages such as Russian and Vietnamese, and less common tongues including Dari and Tongan. - Sapa-AP

Note the date, of course!

Luckily Peter Edberg jumped in quickly before it oscillated into one of those long threads:

That article was probably based on a mistake. See about 2/3 of the way down in

Klingon Interpreters Out Of Work After All

PORTLAND, Oregon - Sorry, no Klingon interpreters needed, after all. The government
agency that treats mental health patients in the Portland, Oregon, area had listed
Klingon as one of 55 languages that clients might speak. Now, Multnomah County
officials are taking back their call for Klingon interpreters. County Chair Diane
Linn says the inclusion of the "Star Trek" language on the list was a mistake.
Officials note that no mental patient had ever come in speaking only Klingon. And
not a dime of public money was spent on Klingon interpretation.

- Peter Edberg (Eugene, Oregon)

This nicely managed to stop the conversation before it started.

And oh what a conversation it would have been!

Thankfully, there are not enough psychiatric patients claiming to only be able to communicate in Klingon that an interpreter would be required.

And certainly not enough reading and writing in it, using the non-Latin script that not even the Klingon Language Institute uses!

I suppose one day I should more fully cover the rejection directly.

And I shall.

Another day....

Van on 5 Jun 2011 3:08 PM:

Of course, you have the William Overington contingent that believes that the only reason the KLI doesn't use pIqaD is because it isn't in Unicode yet, and if we would just give it a chance, you'd have hundreds of thousands of Klingon speakers throughout the world, each of them faithfully using only the proper alphabet to send their copious emails and documents to the myriad of everyday people just desperate for this opportunity to engage with the rest of the world.

People seeking mental health services in Portland have nothing on some of the people Unicode has to deal with.

Michael S. Kaplan on 5 Jun 2011 8:11 PM:

Obviously, Van. I mean, up until Unicode there was no printed text at all!

Van on 6 Jun 2011 1:25 AM:

We all know that prior to Unicode, the only written messages that could be sent were ASCII art.

Doug Ewell on 6 Jun 2011 9:06 AM:

At least Klingon letters are characters. Most of the things William wants to encode aren't even characters.

Michael S. Kaplan on 6 Jun 2011 1:56 PM:

The Golden ligatures? :-)

go to newer or older post, or back to index or month or day