tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Fri Jun 26 10:09:37 2009

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Re: Klingon translation

Michael Everson (

On 26 Jun 2009, at 17:00, ghunchu'wI' 'utlh wrote:

> On Thu, Jun 25, 2009 at 7:07 PM, Michael  
> Everson<> wrote:
>> I am doing a short translation. The text is well-known, but is
>> syntactically complex in English. I have made a stab at the first
>> sentence; my rendering of it came to two separate sentences in  
>> Klingon.
> Translating sentence-by-sentence is definitely preferable to doing  
> it word-for-word.

Thank you. I have learned languages before.

> Better yet would be to just retell the story in Klingon; that way  
> the English syntactic complexity is a total non-issue.

You have already pointed out that I don't know Klingon well enough to  
do that.

>> How about if I give my translation here, without the original  
>> (which is well-known, but let's forget that) and see if it makes  
>> sense.
> That's usually not a good idea. What you give might make sense as  
> something other than what you intended. Without knowing what you want
> to say, we might not know that you didn't do it correctly.

Even so.

> SuStel already pointed out that you can't say {'e' ghoHtaHvIS}. It  
> is a silly rule, and Marc Okrand himself has broken it on occasion,  
> but
> it is a rule nonetheless.

And the workaround? "You can't say that" OK. What can I say?

> Do we know that the object of {ghoH} is the topic of the argument?  
> Do we even know that {ghoH} can have an object?

I cannot answer that question given the fact that the dictionary is  
nothing more than a wordlist.

> Knowing where this story is going, I think {Hov} alone is a poor  
> choice to represent a source of warmth.

(Do you encourage everyone this way? Must you say "poor" rather than  
"weak" or "suboptimal" or "not the best"? Is this your natural style,  
or are you getting at me for advocating spelling reform? *grin*)

> Perhaps {Hov tuj} "hot star" to contrast with {SuS bIr} "cold wind"  
> would work well enough.

I think {qo' Hov} 'local star' is better, and evidently {SuS 'ev} is  
the way to go for the wind.

> You used the perfective on {ghoS}, implying that the traveler's  
> journey was finished while the two were arguing. It does superficially
> follow the {yIntaHvIS qeylIS...chenmoHlu'pu'} example from Skybox  
> card S8, but I think your intent is different, and I think the aspect
> suffix here is more confusing than helpful.

I do not evidently have access to "Skybox card S8" whatever that is.  
However, the construction is exactly parallel to {SutlhtaHvIs chaH  
DIHIvpu'}, TKD 63.

> Does the {ghoHtaHvIS...ghoS} need to be a single sentence? You can  
> simplify the syntactic complexity by separating them: {ghoH [chaH].
> ghoS [ghaH].}

I don't mind how many sentences it takes.

> Is there any reason to think that {wep tuj} refers to anything but a  
> jacket which is at a high temperature?

No, and it worried me.

> Perhaps you could say {tujmeH wep} or {tujmoHmeH wep} "jacket for  
> being hot/heating".

I like the latter... the jacket that makes you warm

> The relatively recently revealed verb {ghun} "be warm" is probably a  
> better word than {tuj} here, especially if you have {Hov tuj} as one  
> of the main entities.

Which I might not, with {qo' Hov}, but, well, what can I say about  
recently-revealed verbs? They're not in my dictionary.

> You might also just call it a {wep vaQ} "effective jacket".

Naah that could be body-armour.

Michael Everson *

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