At first, this may look like another post on the silliness of a mental heath departmet looking for a Klingon translator, but the point I wish to make is something a bit different - it just uses this story as an example, so please, keep reading.
Below is the text of the AP article regarding Multnomah County's recent decision to include Klingon on a list of languages that their mental health officials may need a translator for.
Contra Costa Times | 05/11/2003 | County needs a Klingon speaker
Position available: Interpreter, must be fluent in Klingon.
The language created for the "Star Trek" TV series and movies is one of about 55 needed by the office that treats mental health patients in metropolitan Multnomah County.
"We have to provide information in all the languages our clients speak," said Jerry Jelusich, a procurement specialist for the county Department of Human Services, which serves about 60,000 psychiatric clients.
Although created for works of fiction, Klingon was designed to have a consistent grammar, syntax and vocabulary.
Now, Multnomah County research has found that many people, and not just fans, consider it a complete language.
"There are some cases where we've had mental health patients where this was all they would speak," said the county's purchasing administrator, Franna Hathaway.
County officials said that obligates them to respond with a Klingon-English interpreter, putting the language of starship Enterprise officer Worf and other Klingon characters on a par with common languages such as Russian and Vietnamese, and with less common ones as Dari and Tongan.
Given the lead sentence, it ends up sounding like Multnomah County is going to be adding a Klingon translator to their staff, which, of course, would cost the county money. Reading the original story, as published in the Oregonian, however, shows a slightly different picture.
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."
[...] 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.