EVX: Communicating with Klingons – Interpreting Alien Language and Culture

An interactive Web broadcast that connects



Presented by The Museum of Science Fiction

held on Wednesday, September 23, 7:00 p.m. ET



Robert O’Reilly (Gowron) & J.G. Hertzler (Martok) from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

Hosted by Linguist Marc Okrand, creator of the Klingon language.

Okrand, O’Reilly and Hertzler will discuss Klingon culture in general, as they explore what is undoubtedly the most popular and celebrated alien race in all of science fiction. Klingon High Council Chancellor Gowron, portrayed by O’Reilly, made his debut in Star Trek: The Next Generation and emerged as a critical figure in the Klingon government. His presence continued into Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, where he shared prominence with Hertzler’s character, General Martok, leader of the Klingon fleet detachment to Deep Space Nine during the Federation-Dominion War who later, briefly, also became Chancellor.

Through most of the televised series, the fact that interaction between humans and aliens were conducted in English was at first largely ignored and then later explained by use of Universal Translators, which converted detected audio into the end-user’s native language. While snippets of Klingon were slowly integrated into subsequent shows, the movies, including the J.J. Abrams films in the Kelvin Timeline, and more recently, Star Trek: Enterprise and Star Trek: Discovery actively embraced the fact that aliens spoke in their native tongues, placing the onus on the Universal Translator to provide the necessary conversions.

Okrand’s contribution to the Star Trek universe is legendary. Having initially created Vulcan dialog for a scene between actors Leonard Nimoy (Spock) and Kirstie Alley (Saavik) for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, he then produced a comprehensive language for the Klingons which was used in virtually every other Star Trek feature film. He also authored of The Klingon Dictionary and one addendum, wrote The Klingon Way and Klingon for the Galactic Travele and – along with O’Reilly – provided Klingon language voiceovers for the video game Star Trek: Klingon.

Other works includes the Atlantean language for Disney’s film Atlantis: The Lost Empire. He also contributed Klingon and Vulcan dialogue for several episodes of the fourth season of Star Trek: Enterprise. He was a consultant for the Romulan and Vulcan languages on 2009’s Star Trek and served as an uncredited consultant on Star Trek: Into Darkness.

Okrand also created the Kelpien language introduced in the Star Trek: Short Treks episode “The Brightest Star” and later used in two episodes of Star Trek: Discovery, “The Red Angel” and “The Sound of Thunder.”