A Klingon Birthday

One of my writing gigs is to put together quizzes for heywise.com. Writing a foreign language one recently I thought I’d make a joke about Klingon. Well, joke’s on me apparently. There really is a Klingon vocabulary out there and available to the world. I ended up making Klingon a test question.

But, now I need to share with you my findings about Klingon birthdays!

A wiki “teaching Klingon to the galaxy” notes that “no known canon phrase to say Happy Birthday in Klingon. Nevertheless, the existing vocabulary makes it possible to translate the idea quite well.”

Apparently, the most common version is qoSlIj DatIvjaj, literally “May you enjoy your birthday.” Yet, some “people prefer to say this as a command: qoSlIj yItIv Enjoy your birthday.” After all, the Klingons are a pretty bossy race in the Star Trek universe — even I know that!

The site I found went on to share translations of the famous “Happy Birthday” song:

 

DuQuchmoHjaj qoSlIj. May your birthday cause you to be happy.
DuQuchmoHjaj qoSlIj. May your birthday cause you to be happy.
DaHjaj bIQuchjaj [name]. May you be happy today, [name]
DuQuchmoHjaj qoSlIj. May your birthday cause you to be happy.

Or:

qoSlIj DatIvqu’jaj. May you enjoy your birthday very much.
qoSlIj DatIvqu’jaj. May you enjoy your birthday very much.
qoSlIj DatIvjaj, [name] May you enjoy your birthday, [name].
qoSlIj DatIvqu’jaj. May you enjoy your birthday very much.

There’s another one about having a splendid birthday, but that seems to be taking it too far. I just don’t think “splendid” is a word the Klingons can relate to very well.

Even the Star Trek series didn’t translate Happy Birthday — instead heralding Worf with a Klingon version of For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow, which was met with his annoyed: “that is not a Klingon song!”

P.S. This blog is in honor of my older brother without whom I would likely have no idea at all about Klingon culture.