Traditionally, The Lord's Prayer
has been one of the first works translated into another language
. Chances are, this was driven from a missionary
perspective of being the first thing to teach a new culture
is the right way to pray. This tradition continues and is often the target of conlang
The following Klingon translation is my own, sitting down with The Klingon Dictionary and working out the translation by hand and checking them against mu'HaqwI' (word surgeon) located at http://chrisp.de/muhaqwi/.
One of the greatest rewards in attempting a translation is the examination of what is being said and the implications that this has in other languages. Some (most) concepts do not map perfectly from one language to another and literal translations often fail.
A bit about Klingon before going into the actual translation. The word order is backwards from what we are familiar with in English: object verb subject. Many times, the subject is indicated in the verb as with pIrInqang meaning 'we (subject) are willing (suffix) to finish (verb stem)' (pI-rIn-qang).
- ngeHbejDungDaq vavma'
- above the cosmos, our Father
The subject part of this is rather straight forward:
vav : father (noun) + -ma' : our (possessive noun suffix capable of using language). However, after that it gets more complicated. I have chosen to avoid using Sto'vo'qor, this is the concept of the Klingon afterlife, but not an eternal and perfect place as with Christianity. This is akin to translating "Heaven" as "Valhalla" in Norse - they are two different places. Thus, I use "The area above the cosmos". A choice had to be made between 'u' and ngeHbej, the first meaning universe, the second meaning cosmos. The later was chosen for a more
- quvtaH ponglIj
- Your name is/continues to be honored.
This sentence is fairly plain. pong is 'name', with the -lIj suffix for your. The possessive in Klingon takes on a different form when the object possessed can use language or not. -lIj is for a language-less object while -lI is for one that can speak quv refers to being honored or honorable, and the -taH ending refers to a continues process.
Another approach would be batlh ponglIj jatlhtaH which translates to "Let your name be spoken always with honor" (literally "with honor, your name, speak continuous")
- pawlI' wo'lIj
- Your empire is in the progress of arriving
wo' is empire, and applying the your (non speaking) possessive suffix we get wo'lIj for your empire. "Empire" being the closest translation for Kingdom. There three possible verbs to use here: chol get close, paw arrive, and ghoS come (as in one object approaching another). I have chosen 'arrive' - things arrive, people come. Come is more of a command and and often used in telling someone "ghoS!". One would not apply such a demand upon the empire of God. It will arrive when it does. Furthermore, it is in the process of arriving. It should be understood that for many Christians, the phrase "your kingdom come" is not a statement of "some day *poof* your kingdom will be here" but rather one of "we endeavor to make prepare the way for the arrival of your kingdom." This becomes clear when looking at the next few lines.
- Qu'lIj pIrInqang
- Your task we are willing to complete
Qu' is task, and with the now familiar -lIj ending for your is the object of the sentence. The 'We' being the subject of the sentence creates the verb prefix pI- which is added to the front of rIn meaning complete. The type 2 verb suffix (volition/predisposition) is then added, -qang meaning willing. Other verb suffixes of this type include -nIS need, -rup ready or prepared for things with language, and -beH ready or prepared for things lacking language
- pupbeHchoHlI' yuQ
- The planet is ready/becomes/continues to be perfect
The object here is straight forward - yuQ meaning planet. The verb is much more interesting with three different suffixes. The root of the verb is pup meaning perfect. The first is that of -beH which is mentioned above as ready or prepared for things lacking language (such as a planet). -choH is a type 3 verb suffix indicating change from one state to another. -lI' is a type 7 verb suffix indicating the aspect or tense, in this case "continues into the future".
A choice was made to try to attempt a literal translation comparing the afterlife to Earth. This fails on two accounts. First, as was expressed by the chancellor Azetbur in Star Trek VI, we (humans) need to overcome our speciest attitudes and earth-centric view of the universe. There is more than one world that is settled and to presume that all people want Heaven on Earth is the incarnation of these attitudes. Secondly, Sto'vo'qor isn't the nicest of places and should be more thought of as the Norse Valhalla - a land of warriors, not a land of perfection and harmony.
One should realize that this does not refer to kicking the ground. pup means both 'be perfect' and 'kick'.
- HIjtaH sojmaj
- Our food, continue to deliver
This passage is a bit direct and seems rather crude at first glance - it is not as elegantly phrased as the classic "give us today our daily bread". Still, it serves its purpose.
- not bortaS junej
- You never seek us for revenge
There is no word for 'forgive' in Klingon and thus this poses a slightly more challenging passage to translate. The trick here is to realize
what does the word means - if you forgive a person, you will never seek
revenge upon them. The ju- verb prefix upon nej (seek) specifies 'You' as the subject and 'us' as the object.
- vaj not bortas Dinejlu'
- as we never seek revenge on others
Once again the concept of forgiveness is brought up. vaj is an adverb meaning 'thus', 'so', 'then' or 'in that case'. The remainder of the sentence is then similar to the previous one with Di- being we-them and the -lu' suffix referring to an indefinite thing, the others are not known.
Other translations use a more literal approach here specifying maghwI'pu'ma' (magh verb betray; wI' one who does; ma' our speaking thing). I feel that this is not necessary - one would only be seeking revenge upon those who have wronged us.
- (you) Do not tempt us
The translation is very clean gho- an imperative 'you-us' relationship in the verb, with tlhu' as the verb root for be tempted. Following the verb there are two suffixes: -moH meaning cause (tlhu'moH is "tempt") and -be' negating the verb. This is probably the most controversial translation as it seemps to imply that God is the one doing the tempting. A more literal translation would be: tlhu'wI' ghoDevbe'. This means "You do not lead us to one who is/does temptation".
- mIghwI'vo' jupol
- you keep/save us from one who is evil
Here, I have chosen to revert back to ju- the 'you-us' instead of using the impertive form (gho-) above. This is because in this passage, there is no request - it is a statement: You keep us. The object of this sentence takes the verb mIgh meaning to be evil, appends the wI' suffix to this making it one who is, and then the syntactic marker of -vo' meaning away from.
- reH wo' je HoS je batlh Daghaj
- Always the empire, the power, the strength are yours
The adverb reH serves as always. The nouns wo' (empire),
Hos (power), and batlh (honor) are then joined together with the noun conjunction je. The verb ghaj means possess and is prefixed by Da- meaning you-it.