Cave Will Make Klingon Tourists Feel at Home

Australia'sJenolan Caves will soon offer the world's first audio tour voicedentirely in Klingon,the guttural language created for the popular"Star Trek" aliens with bumpy foreheads and a warrior's mentality.

OnAug. 22, the Klingon language willbe one of three options added tothe eight currently available for the self-guided audio tour throughthe"Nettle Cave." As many as 200,000 people pass through the chambers ofthis underground labyrinth annually, making it the most visited cave onthecontinent, Jenolan Caves Reserve Trust officials said in astatement.   

"Weare poisedto boldly go where no other tourist attraction has gonebefore, with thefirst cave tour in the world to be available in the Klingonlanguage," Reserve Trust officials said. [StarTrekTechnologies in Real Life]

TwoKlingon scholars fromthe United States visited theJenolan Caves in early July, the officials added. After Michael Roney Jr., a professional Klingontranslator based in Indianapolis, and science fiction author TracyCanfieldfinalized the translation of the tour script, they joined forces inrecordingthe new, properly harsh-sounding audio track.

Speakingin the alien language, Roney,who goes by the Klingonesename of "naHQun,"remarked, "lH, qar'a'"in expressing the beauty of the caves.

Theformation of these caves in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales datesback340 million years, placing the subterranean limestone structure amongsttheplanet's oldest caves open to the public.  

Aplace in 'Star Trek' lore

TheJenolan Caves have a long-standing association with the "StarTrek" universe. A transport vessel in a 1992 episode of theseries"Star Trek: The Next Generation," was christened the U.S.S. Jenolanafter the caves.

Inthe episode, titled "Relics," the Enterprise crew discovers thatMontgomery "Scotty" Scott of the original "Star Trek"series (played by James Doohan)found a way tosurvive for 75 years aboard the wreck of the Jenolan on the surface ofa solarsystem-size metal shell. Scotty is revived, whereupon the doughtyengineersaves the Enterprise from certain destruction.

Asa Klingon might say: "Qapla!" or "Success!"


Asmodern, made-up languages go, Klingonhas beenextremely successful.

MarcOkrand, an Americanlinguist, devised the discordantdialect for the first "Star Trek" movies. He later published thefirst edition of the KlingonDictionary in 1985.

Sincethen, a KlingonLanguage Institute has sprung up,"Hamlet" and "Gilgamesh" havebeentranslated, among other literary works, into Klingon,and now fans can even tweet in the fictional argot.   

TheKlingon language'ssharp-looking letters have been sentinto space as well. Last April, the characters graced NASApatches for theWindow Observational Research Facility — a new Earth-observationpost installed on the International Space Station.

Adesigner recognized that the acronym of the facility's name was WORF,which isthe name of the most famous Klingonof them all,played by Michael Dorn in "Star Trek's" "The NextGeneration" and "Deep Space Nine" series.

Dorn,along with actress Marina Sirtis,who portrayedCounselor Troi in "TheNext Generation,"will be attending the OzTrek3 event in Sydney Aug. 22, along with, asit turnsout, staff from the Jenolan Caves.

Courtesyof the Caves' Federation-worthy effort, it will soon be possible toboldlyspelunk where no Klingonhas spelunkedbefore. 

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Adam Hadhazy
Contributing Writer

Adam Hadhazy is a contributing writer for Live Science and He often writes about physics, psychology, animal behavior and story topics in general that explore the blurring line between today's science fiction and tomorrow's science fact. Adam has a Master of Arts degree from the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at New York University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Boston College. When not squeezing in reruns of Star Trek, Adam likes hurling a Frisbee or dining on spicy food. You can check out more of his work at