Northfield's Klingon Connection

If you were suddenly beamed aboard a Klingon Bird of Prey, would you know how to ask for directions to the bathroom?  Thanks to Ultralingua, a software company co-founded by Northfielder Jeff Ondich, all you would need to handle such a 24th century emergency is a little 21st century technology—an iPhone equipped with Ultralingua’s Klingon Language Suite.  Available from the iPhone App Store, the Klingon Language Suite includes a Klingon-English Dictionary, a phrasebook, and the audiobook Conversational Klingon.  The Klingon Language Suite is the latest offering from the Minneapolis-based company, which specializes in dictionary, translation, and grammar software.  

Ultralingua got off the ground in 1997 with its first French-English dictionary, and has steadily branched out into other languages, from Spanish and German to Norwegian and Mandarin(currently in development) to Klingon.  Ultralingua software allows users to look up words, conjugate verbs, and translate numbers.  A number of the language dictionaries powered by Ultralingua were developed in partnership with major publishers such as Collins, Larousse, and the Norwegian publisher Kunnskapsforlaget.  The dictionary software available on the Collins language website is also powered by Ultralingua. 

The Klingon Language Suite was developed in partnership with publisher Simon & Schuster, and was battle-tested by members of the Klingon Language Institute.  Conversational Klingon, the language tutorial, features the voices of Michael Dorn (Lt. Worf, the Klingon officer in Star Trek: The Next Generation) and Marc Okrand, the linguist who invented the Klingon language for the 1984 film Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.

Ondich, a professor of computer science at Carleton, was brought on board at the beginning as a programmer, and now serves as the company’s chief technical officer (CTO) as well as its owner. The company employs five people at its Minneapolis headquarters, and another four programmers in Northfield, with the possibility of a satellite office opening in Northfield later this year.  Ultralingua software is currently available for Mac, Windows, Windows Mobile, iPhone, Symbian, and Palm OS.  The company has plans to expand into Blackberry and Google Android.  

And if you find yourself on board a Bird of Prey and need to find the toilet, remember this: nuqDaq ‘oH puchpa’ ‘e’.  Or better yet, keep your iPhone handy.  

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My sister-in-law was a Klingon


Also, another Northfield-Klingon connection: My sister-in-law was a Klingon in one of the final episodes of Deep Space Nine. 

She has a promo picture, and looks great, somewhat severe, like a Norwegian pioneer mom living in a sod house.  Like some of the local ancestors, in other words.  But she has black leather and pointed teeth.  Grrrr.