The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum is one of the galaxy’s most popular tourist destinations, and celebrates infinite diversity in infinite combinations among its visitors. Although we are fairly certain there are no longer undercover Klingon agents on staff, we welcome citizens of the planet Kronos to explore the history of flight on Earth alongside our terrestrial visitors.
To help increase Klingon visitorship, we turned to Earth’s premier extraterrestrial linguist and former Smithsonian post-doctoral fellow, Marc Okrand. Okrand developed the Klingon and Vulcan languages for the Star Trek franchise, and was kind enough to translate and record a 60-minute highlights tour and in the Museum’s new app GO FLIGHT.
The tour, which can be enjoyed from anywhere on or off the planet, includes six of the Museum’s most iconic artifacts, some of which required creative interpretation for our interstellar audiences. The Spirit of St. Louis became St. Louis toDuj (Mettle of St. Louis), while John Glenn’s Mercury spacecraft became “Mercury jup ghom Soch” (“Group of Friends 7”), because there is no Klingonese word for “friend.”
The original studio model of the starship Enterprise, now ship-shape after two years of extensive restoration work, is not included in the tour to avoid revealing sensitive Federation technology (the ship will not launch until 2245) or provoking our Klingon visitors (full peace between our worlds will not occur until the Khitomer Accords in 2293, and the Enterprise will play an important role in the intervening cold war). For the tour with text or an English version of the same tour, download the free official app. Go here to listen to the audio clips.
For more Okrand outtakes, check out the behind-the-scenes video of the recording session where we gained insight into what it was like creating and filming the Klingon language.