[tlhIngan Hol] Hoch in noun-noun constructions

Will Martin willmartin2 at mac.com
Wed Feb 3 13:04:44 PST 2021

Additionally, I think it helps to realize that a literal translation of the Klingon would create a very uncommon sentence that an English speaker should recast to sound less strange. We are not actually discussing every Klingon ship. We are discussing the location of every Klingon ship.

Cloaking devices are installed. Where are they installed? They are installed in all Klingon ships or in each Klingon ship. There is no single location for all Klingon ships. Each Klingon ship has a location, so we are obviously talking about a lot of different locations. Within this location, a cloaking device is installed.

This is the thing about language. It shapes thought. An alien language promotes alien thoughts.

When we translate an alien sentence, we don’t translate the alien thought. We “cleanse” it so that it makes sense to us in OUR language, providing us with a thought that we understand from our language’s framework.

In English, “All Klingon vessels are equipped with a cloaking device,” builds a model of a Klingon ship in our head, and internal to that ship, there is a thing that is part of the ship. We might see a 3-D model of a Klingon ship in our heads and see a cloaking device as a smaller 3-D element that might be glowing, or somehow highlighted to feature it as something distinct from the rest of the ship while still being part of the ship, like a person’s heart, kidney, or appendix.

Meanwhile, the Klingon’s mental model can see the ship as a zone; an environment within which the crew and equipment dwell. Within that zone, one installs a cloaking device. Instead of seeing the cloaking device as an integral part of the ship, it can be more like a story where something happens. Klingons had ships before they had cloaking devices. At some point in their history, they captured a Romulan ship that had a cloaking device, and they studied that device and learned how it worked and built more of them and installed them for their own use.

Where did they install them?

They installed them in the space that contains each of their ships. After all, it the device doesn’t cloak the ship. The device cloaks the area surrounding and including the ship and all of its contents. If it just cloaked the ship, you’d see a bunch of Klingons floating around in space and wonder why they don’t float away from each other or how they can breath.

Wonder Woman’s jet cloaks itself. A Klingon ship cloaks a zone.

Okrand often provides translations that are not literal. He’s trying to model the mind of Maltz, and come from an alien mindset, shaped by the language that alien speaks.

This is the nut of what I’m talking about when I rant about Klingon being a language and not a code. Klingon is different from English, not just by its grammar and vocabulary. It’s different in its approach to representing ideas.

This is why you can unnecessarily stumble all over yourself trying to figure out the minutia of how this particular Klingon sentence got translated into English by using these particular individual English words.

It is not the case that a Klingon sentence of any complexity can be run through a sufficiently complex automated process resulting in the one and only true translation into English. You have to learn Klingon well enough that reading or hearing it creates an idea in your mind BEFORE that idea can be then stated using English, and when you do that, you have to make decisions between optional valid English translations, each of which is imperfect.

You, of all people, should appreciate why Ancient Greek Literature has been translated so many different times by so many different people because the Ancient Greek language can express things that English can’t express, unless you leave out or modify subtleties that don’t exist in a normal English sentence.

Klingon is a simpler language, but it isn’t without its subtleties, and it doesn’t always translate well, for the same reasons. It’s a language, not a code.

charghwI’ vaghnerya’ngan

rInpa’ bomnIS be’’a’ pI’.

> On Feb 3, 2021, at 11:44 AM, Alan Anderson <qunchuy at alcaco.net> wrote:
> On Feb 3, 2021, at 11:12 AM, mayqel qunen'oS <mihkoun at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Hoch tlhIngan DujDaq So'wI' jomlu' All Klingon vessels are equipped with a cloaking device (S33) 
>> I can't understand why at the S33 sentence, the {Hoch tlhIngan DujDaq} is given as "all klingon vessels", when it's clearly "each klingon vessel".
> The reason is probably that the English sentence was written first. The actual meaning of “all” in English is fuzzy, sometimes meaning the same thing as “each”. In translating it to Klingon, the intent of the sentence has been interpreted to mean that there is a cloaking device on each vessel. The alternative would imply that a single cloaking device for the collection of all vessels.
> Here it’s the English which is the source of your confusion, not the Klingon.
> -- ghunchu'wI'
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