[tlhIngan Hol] Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor

nIqolay Q niqolay0 at gmail.com
Sat Dec 2 19:57:08 PST 2017

​​On Sat, Dec 2, 2017 at 9:14 PM, kechpaja <kechpaja at comcast.net> wrote:
> Given how Klingon seems to work, I've been trying to avoid both {-ghach}
> and {-bogh} unless I decide that I really need them, since so many
> things (especially proverbs of this sort) that in English use
> nominalized verbs and relative clauses tend to skip them in Klingon.

​I could​ have sworn there was canon about how {-ghach} itself was a marked
suffix that draws attention to itself (which is why I mentioned avoiding
it), but it looks like using {-ghach} without suffixes is what's marked (
http://klingonska.org/canon/1994-09-holqed-03-3-a.txt), and that {-ghach}
itself seems to be fine. I thought I knew canon better than that.
{Hu'tegh!} Anyway, sometimes using {-ghach} too much can suggest that you
just got lazy and didn't try to think about your sentence, but there's
nothing inherently wrong with it, especially if it's the best fit for your

{-bogh} is wholly uncontroversial. A look through "The Klingon Way" shows
plenty of relative clause
​s in proverbs.​

> I'm
> also trying to work around English-style phrasings such as "give
> something a flavor".

​It's good to be aware of Englishisms in your translations, but I'm not
sure "give something a flavor" is inherently too English-y. Flavor is a
thing, and things can be given. It's a metaphorical sort of giving, maybe,
but the whole expression is a metaphor. As an alternative to {nob},
{ghajmoH} is pretty basic but serviceable. I also like De'vID's suggestion
of {chel}.

> Qapla' 'eymoHbogh ghevI' 'oH lujlu'ghach'e'.

​This is fine; it's pretty much the first thing I thought of. (I went with
{lujpu'ghach'e'} myself, but {-lu'} also makes sense.)

> Or maybe this:
> Qapla' 'eymoHbogh ghevI' bIH Qaghmey'e'.
> I may end up going with the last one; {Qagh} is about as close as
> Klingon has to a non-{-ghach} noun for "failure".

I wouldn't use {Qagh} "mistake" as a synonym for failure​. {pIqarD HoD}
says it better than I could: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1TCX90yALsI
(That's a pretty Klingon sentiment too... a first attempt at a translation:
{Qaghbe'chugh vay', vabDot lujlaH vay'. puj 'oHbe'. yIn 'oH.})

​You could get even shorter, depending on what parts of the original you're
willing to drop and how much of the metaphor you want to leave implied:
{Qapla' ghevI' 'oH lujpu'ghach'e'} "Failure is the sauce of success."​
{Qapla' 'eymoH lujpu'ghach'e'} "Failure makes success delicious."

​{lujpu'ghach jablu'DI' je reH QaQqu' Qapla' nay'} "Success is a dish best
served with failure." (This has very little to do with the original
phrasing, but the food metaphor made me want to riff on the familiar
Klingon proverb.)​
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