Bing translator

The name Bing refers to Microsoft's online translator software. Right on time before the release of Star Trek Into Darkness in May 2013, Microsoft announced a Klingon version of their translator device (1). The Klingon information was added in cooperation with CBS, Paramount and the KLI(2).

Building the vocabulary

The basis for the software to learn Klingon were the three largest pieces of Klingon literature: The Klingon Hamlet, Much Ado about Nothing and paq'batlh, plus some of the translated parts of the Klingon Bible, such as the Gospel of John and the Gospel of Mark. This caused lots of problems at the beginning (and still does), because these works are never a one-to-one translation. Several members of the KLI – mostly Robyn Stewart – have contributed some effort in creating standard phrases and vocabulary lists into the software in order to "teach it" the Klingon language. This removed some of the major problems, the but the software still cannot handle Klingon in a usable way.

Technical issues

The translation software of Bing is - just as many others - based on "Deep Learning". This means that the software tries to learn from the examples instead having the grammtical rules being programmed. As a simple example, if the translation of the phrase "xxx John" is "John eats" you will with no doubt understand that xxx stands for "eats". Translating "Maria eats" will certainly result in "xxx Maria" without knowng anything about the grammar of that sentence.

The problem we have with Klingon is that the sentence structure is backwards and many of the given literature has sentences that are not matching correctly. Compare this fictive example:

qeylIS betleH I want to see
vIlegh vIneH. Kahless' Bat'leth.

If somebody would enter "I want to see" then the computer's automatic result would be qeylIS betleH. Any user who knows nothing about Klingon would trust and accept this as the correct result.

Critics and known problems

A computer software can never translate the way a human person would do, so no translation can be perfect. Especially in the beginning of the app, there were not enough example phrases programmed, so that the translator would give obvious mistakes (like entering the letter "Q" would be translated as "Denmark"). During the improvement process between 2013 and 2018, most of these mistakes have been solved, but the translations are still not perfect. One should keep in mind that a translation software can never be perfect.

  • When a word cannot be translated, it is just displayed in English. When the pIqaD option is chosen, letters are just replaced by Klingon letters, so a unexperienced user may think it's correct. This creates phrases like Star Trek into Darkness towards a meaningless Hov trek vaj DartlhneSS.

  • In some cases, the translator engine might choose a similar word. For instance, searching for "starring" gives the translation of "string" and searching for "actress" gives the translation for "adress".

  • Due to the not so direct translation of the provided works and also the reversed Klingon word order, many translation results still produce absolute nonsense rubbish. For example, in the book Stellar Cartography the title of the map "Imperial Klingon Empire" was translated into "Today my emperor wife".


This is a clear warning for all who wish to use the Bing translator: It does NOT produce any good Klingon. It may work for short phrases and words, but even then, it is not made as a look up tool. Translating longer texts results in meaningless nonsense, that can even not be tracked back, because the software does not work identically in both directions.

Partner projects

"I didn't use Bing, I used X instead." is a common mistake many users do, not knowing that every Klingon translation app is based on Bing/Microsoft. So you should avoid the following online translators. Most of these even show the note "supported by Microsoft Translator™ NMT" or "Engine: Microsoft Translator™ NMT" or "MicrosoftStar Powered by Microsoft™"

  • Microsoft translator for Android
  • and more...

See also

  • Freeloader
  • boQwI' - which is not a translator app, but a great dictionary tool.

Bing translation results

Some unexperienced user believes that translation results are correct and uses them without any verification in finished products.


1 : Announcing Klingon for Bing Translator, 14 May 2013

2 : Microsoft Translator partners

External links

Category: General    Latest edit: 26 Oct 2020, by KlingonTeacher    Created: 14 Oct 2014 by KlingonTeacher
History: r9 < r8 < r7 < r6 - View wiki text
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