Multnomah County Hires Klingon Interpretor
Actually...they didn't. But that was the impression made when the story broke over the wires on that fatefull day in May. Too many people asked me if I was going to take the job....but it was pulled before I could apply. In order to set the record straight....or just to get another line in Google about this. I am reprinting the story from the source..The Oregonian...where I first read it on May 10, 2003
If you need someone to Klingon. . .
Multnomah County is looking for a Klingon interpreter -- just in case.
The county doesn't expect to be invaded by the alien warriors from "Star Trek" movies and TV series. But the office that treats county mental health patients wants to be prepared in case a client arrives in an emergency room gabbing in the galactic language.
"We have to provide information in all the languages our clients speak," says Jerry Jelusich, a procurement specialist for the county Department of Human Services, which serves some 60,000 mental health clients.
So if a patient speaks only Klingon, the county must respond with a Klingon interpreter. Officials have decided to include it with about 55 languages, some of which, such as Russian and Vietnamese, are widely spoken, and some, such as Dari and Tongan, are seldom spoken.
In recent years, Klingon has gone from being a fictional tongue to a complete language, with its own grammar, syntax and vocabulary. Jelusich and colleagues took note of a recent article in The Oregonian about a Portlander who sings karaoke in Klingon.(yep...that was me...editors note+ Their later research satisfied them that Klingon is for real.
The county would pay a Klingon interpreter only in the unlikely case he or she was actually called into service.
"We said, 'What the heck, let's throw it in,' " Jelusich says. "It doesn't cost us any money."
The county's purchasing administrator, Franna Hathaway, greeted the request with initial skepticism. "I questioned it myself when it first came in. "
But, she adds, "There are some cases where we've had mental health patients where this was all they would speak."
Jelusich says that in reality, no patient has yet tried to communicate in Klingon. But the possibility that a patient could believe himself or herself to be a Klingon doesn't seem so far-fetched.
"I've got people who think they're Napoleon," he says.
Multnomah County Chairwoman Diane Linn could not be reached for comment. Next up: another mythical language popularized by The "Lord of the Rings" films.
"The kids," Jelusich says, "are learning to speak Elvish."
Steve Woodward: 503-294-5134; firstname.lastname@example.org
Nice to know I've had such an effect on my local community. The article clearly states the county would PAY for the service ONLY in the event they need a Klingon speaker. But the AP screwed the story up so bad that most are under the impression the county HAD hired someone and that TAX DOLLARS were actually being spent. Nothing is further from the truth. Luckily that has been debunked by no less than Snopes.
The House of Kiln applauds all this fun.....this is surrealism beyond my wildest imagination.