The Klingon Hamlet.jpg
The Klingon Hamlet

Czech edition 2001

Der Klingonische Hamlet.jpg
German edition 2015

The Klingon Hamlet

The Klingon Hamlet is a Klingon translation of Shakespeare's Hamlet. It has been translated by Nick Nicholas and Andrew Strader in 1995. The KLI published the work in 1996, then Pocket Books published it in 2000. The idea to translate Hamlet into Klingon emerged from a phrase spoken by Chancellor Gorkon in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, who said "You haven't experienced Shakespeare until you've read it in the original Klingon."


This version of Hamlet is given a backstory in its introduction: it's actually a fairly modern Klingon play, written by a Klingon after Klingons have achieved spaceflight and apparently after contact with the Federation. But the sneaky Federation has waged a propaganda war against the Klingon Empire and created a false history of Earth literature, in which Shex'pir was actually a human from many centuries earlier, so it's hard to go and find proof that this isn't true. This edition of Hamlet is an attempt to counter this propaganda and "reconstruct" what the original Klingon must have looked like.

Presentation by the KLI

Text taken from the KLI's homepage (1).
The curtain is up, the play has begun... and the work of the Klingon Shakespeare Restoration Project is now available to a wider audience, courtesy of Pocket Books. This trade paperback is an updated version of our earlier publication, a limited hardbound edition of 1,000 numbered copies, plus 26 numbered deluxe copies. Only a handful of those remain, but the new trade paperback can be found in major bookstores and also right here at the KLI's own merchant page.

The original edition of the book went through years of translation and several revisions, with translators Nick Nicholas and Andrew Strader aided by feedback and editorial assistance from Mark Shoulson, d'Armond Speers, and William Martin. Translation by committee is a tricky thing, but Hamlet represents the largest piece of text in Klingon to date and we wanted to be as grammatically accurate as possible. That concern resulted in several hundred changes to the text when Pocket Books expressed an interest in publishing a trade paperback version. In the intervening years Klingon scholarship had revealed new insights into the language and we insisted on incorporating them into the new book. Nick Nicholas and Lawrence M. Schoen expanded the appendices for the new edition as well, giving further insight into the play and its context in the larger scope of Imperial and Federation politics.

You may think you've read Hamlet before, but you can't really appreciate it until you've read it in the original Klingon. Now's your chance. Enjoy!


Act 3, Scene 1: "To be, or not to be..."
taH pagh taHbe'. DaH mu'tlheghvam vIqelnIS.
quv'a', yabDaq San vaQ cha, pu' je SIQDI'?
pagh, Seng bIQ'a'Hey SuvmeH nuHmey SuqDI',
'ej, Suvmo', rInmoHDI'? Hegh. Qong – Qong neH –
To be, or not to be, that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer / The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing, end them? To die: to sleep;


Before being released publically, the KLI had published a set of 1,026 hardcover editions, which were only given to members of the KLI. 26 of these had a red cover and were numbered in pIqaD by hand using the Klingon letters from a (a) to z ('). The other 1,000 editions had a grey hardcover and were numbered by hand from 1 to 1,000.


  • translators: Nick Nicholas and Andrew Strader
  • edited by Mark Shoulson
    • with assistance from Will Martin and d'Armond Speers
  • layout and design by Lawrence M. Schoen
  • Shakespeare illustration by Gennie Summers


English Czech German
Title The Klingon Hamlet Klingonský Hamlet Der Klingonische Hamlet
Publisher Pocket Books Netopejr Cross Cult
Language English + Klingon Czech + Klingon German + Klingon
Pages 219 (+ 5 empty) 235 378 (+ 2 empty)
ISBN 978-0-671-03578-5 80-86096-54-8 978-3-86425-442-0
Size 152 x 228 mm   120 x 180 mm
Weight 374 g   324 g
Kind Softcover Softcover Softcover
Date February 2000 2001 2015


1 : The Klingon Hamlet on, retrieved 20.07.2015

See also

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