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Marc Okrand
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    (1948- )
    Born in California
    Linguist specializing in American Indian and Tibeto-Burman languages
    Created the Klingon, Vulcan and Romulan languages for Star Trek, starting with 'Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan' (1982)
    Also created Atlantean for 'Atlantis: The Lost Empire' (2001)
    Wrote 'The Klingon Dictionary' (1985) 'The Klingon Way' (1996) and 'Klingon for the Galactic Traveler' (1997)
    He admitted, 'A good percentage of Klingon vocabulary is bad puns or obscure -- or not so obscure -- references.'
    Examples: in Klingon, raS = table (as in the Latin phrase 'tabula rasa'), chang'eng = pair (as in Siamese twins Chang and Eng Bunker) and daS = boot (as in the film 'Das Boot').
    He wrote the libretto for 'u,' 'the first authentic Klingon opera on Earth.'
    As president of the board of directors for the Washington Shakespeare Company, he arranged 'an evening of Shakespeare in Klingon' as a fundraiser.
    Some people have Klingon-language wedding ceremonies and one man tried (ultimately without success) to raise his son as a native Klingon speaker.
    He said about the more obsessive Klingon fans, 'Sometimes it's like, 'What have I done?' '
    He worked for the National Captioning Institute and helped develop the first closed-captioning system for hearing-impaired TV viewers.
    While coordinating closed captioning for the 1982 Oscar ceremony, he met a Paramount producer, leading to his work with Star Trek.
    He said about the challenge in creating Klingon, 'It had to sound nothing like English and had to be something the actors could learn really quickly.'
    He noted about Klingon, 'I hear it's taught in some linguistics classes and I've seen chapters [from the Klingon Dictionary] incorporated into linguistics textbooks.'
    As a character in 'Star Trek VI' points out, 'You have not experienced Shakespeare until you have read him in the original Klingon.'

Credit: C. Fishel

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