Science Fiction Language Translators

The image above shows how Grammar Party looks in Gallifreyan. Gallifreyan is–OF COURSE–the language of the planet Gallifrey, spoken by the race of beings known as Time Lords, of which The Doctor of Doctor Who is the last known in existence.

It’s rather beautiful, isn’t it? Sometimes I wonder if I were to get a tattoo what it would be. Currently, I’m thinking perhaps something in Gallifreyan–because it is so lovely, and, well, because I’m a huge science fiction nerd.

Today I’m bringing to you a collection of online nerd language translators you can use for a bit of fun on your lunch hour, or any hour, if you like.



You have to download this one. I downloaded it last week and have used it a bunch and have found no problems with it. It’s not going to override your files with Dalek programming. Go ahead. Type in fish fingers and custard. You know you want to.



This site translates English into your choice of Star Trek languages: Klingon, Vulcan, or Romulan. I’ve noticed that it translates into Klingon better, perhaps because the vocabulary of that language has been more fleshed out.

R2D2 beeps and boops


This translator caps off at thirty characters, but it also reads the text for you and translates the symbols into R2’s robotic language. And a beep-beep-boop to you!

Erin Servais is owner and lead copy editor & copywriter at Dot and Dash LLC. Learn how to hire her for your next project at

Sabai dee pee mai! Yeni Yiliniz Kutlu Olsun! Happy New Year!


Felix annus novus tibi sit! Or, for our English readers, Happy New Year.

I’ve been wanting to study Latin for years. (If some super rich and friendly reader happens to want to sponsor my Latin classes, I’d, um, be open to it. ‘Cause I’m broke.) So, I bought this Latin phrase-a-day calendar because that’s sort of like studying Latin. And for January 1, it says, “Felix annus novus tibi sit.”

So, I would like to officially announce to all Grammar Party readers: “Felix annus novus tibi sit” to you.

In honor of well wishes for 2012, I have also collected translations of “Happy New Year” from other languages. Enjoy!

Afgani: Saale Nao Mubbarak

Afrikaans: Gelukkige nuwe jaar

Armenian: Snorhavor Nor Tari

Arabic: Kul ‘am wa antum bikhair

Croatian: Sretna nova godina

Danish: Godt Nytår

Dutch: Gelukkig Nieuwjaar

French: Bonne année

German: Glückliches neues Jahr

Greek: Kenourios Chronos

Hebrew: L’Shanah Tovah

Hungarian: Boldog új évet

Indonesian: Selamat Tahun Baru

Italian: Felice anno nuovo

Japanese: Akimashite Omedetto Gozaimasu

Klingon: DIS chu’ DatIvjaj

Korean: Saehae Bock Mani ba deu sei yo!

Loatian: Sabai dee pee mai

Norwegian: Godt Nyttår

Polish: Szczesliwego Nowego Roku

Portuguese: Feliz Ano Novo

Punjabi: Nave sal di mubarak

Slovenian: sreèno novo leto

Spanish: Feliz año Nuevo

Tebitan: Losar Tashi Delek

Thai: Sawadee Pee Mai

Turkish: Yeni Yiliniz Kutlu Olsun

Ukranian: Shchastlyvoho Novoho Roku

Urdu: Naya Saal Mubbarak Ho

Is it “pour over” or “pore over”?

This is Worf. He is a Klingon. And he will help you learn about idioms.

Nancy pours over her Klingon textbook the night before the big test.
Nancy pores over her Klingon textbook the night before the big test.

This is an idiom that confuses many. So which is correct? Pour over or pore over?

Answer: pore over

We can find the reason this idiom uses pore instead of pour by looking at the definition and etymology of the two words.

Merriam-Webster defines pore as “to read or study attentively.” Though this word is spelled the same as the word that means those little openings in your skin, it has a different history. It is believed that pore is a combination of two Old English words: spyrian, which means “to investigate,” and spor, which means “a trace.”[i]

Meanwhile, Merriam-Webster defines pour as “to dispense from a container.” As for its etymology, it is believed that pour comes from the Old French verb purer, which means “to sift (grain), pour out (water).” Purer comes from the Latin word purare, which means “to purify.”[ii]

When you look at these differences, you can tell that it should be pore over because this meaning of pore is “to read or study attentively.” If Nancy from our example pours over her textbook, the only thing she’s going to accomplish is getting a wet book. However, if she pores over her textbook, she’s going to accomplish some learning.

Do you understand the difference between pour and pore? Test your skills with this quiz. Fill in either pours or pores in the blanks. The answers are at the bottom.

  1. Nancy really wants to learn the Klingon language, so she _______ over her Klingon – English dictionary every night.
  2. Nancy learned a Klingon ritual involving a glass of bloodwine that she _______ over a special basin.
  3. Once the rubbing alcohol _______ over the cut, Nancy’s Klingon battle scar will be disinfected.
  4. Once Nancy _______ over her lecture notes again, she will have a good understanding of the Klingon future tense.

Answers: 1. pores 2. pours 3. pours 4. pores

Word Nerd Wednesday

Here are some fun language-related links I scoured from the interwebs. Enjoy!

Rap in 30 languages (including Esperanto and, my personal fave, Klingon), from How Stuff Works:

Wondering whether that word is actually one word or two? (Think already and all ready.) Here’s a list of the usual suspects at Columbia Journalism Review:

A basic guide to typography (en vs. em dashes, correct quote marks, spacing issues) from Smashing Magazine:

A talk about the overuse and misuse of “literally” with linguistic icon Ben Zimmer from CBC Radio:

Will Vietnamese add four letters to its alphabet? Find out at VietnamNet Bridge: