HR Strange But True!
May 13, 2003

We all know that HR is never dull. But sometimes it can get downright strange...

Life Imitates 'Star Trek'

The Department of Human Services in Multnomah County, Oregon, needs a few good Klingons. Failing that, it will settle for a few humans who can speak the language.


Klingons, of course, belong to one of the alien races that populate the Star Trek television series and movies. Their creators have gone so far as to devise a consistent grammar, syntax, and vocabulary for them. Evidently, some clients of the mental-health services provided by Multnomah County have concluded that if the lingo is good enough for the Klingons, it's good enough for them.

"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.

The Portland Oregonian reported that officials decided to include Klingon with the approximately 55 languages the county should be prepared to interpret. Some of those languages, such as Russian and Vietnamese, are widely spoken; some, such as Dari and Tongan, are seldom spoken.

The Oregonian noted that 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 told the newspaper. "It doesn't cost us any money."

Jelusich said no patient had 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, he added. "I've got people who think they're Napoleon."

Source: Portland Oregonian

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