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May 11, 2003 7:29 PM   Subscribe

Sometimes, the Americans with Disabilities Act makes us do funny things. Faced with mental patients who speak nothing but Klingon, an Oregon county department for human services scours the county/state/country/world/universe for Klingon-English interpreters.
posted by TheFarSeid (16 comments total)

 
Better article here.

Basically, done almost as a joke, a "what the heck, why not..." type of thing.
posted by Plunge at 7:37 PM on May 11, 2003


toH tlhIngan Hol DajatlhlaH 'e' DaneH'a'?
posted by quonsar at 7:39 PM on May 11, 2003


If only it were true.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 7:42 PM on May 11, 2003


aww, i_am_joe's_spleen, you just beat me.
posted by oaf at 7:46 PM on May 11, 2003


Can someone please tell quonsar I didn't mean any harm, that I love the ADA and that I think Klingon is really a beautiful language?
posted by TheFarSeid at 7:49 PM on May 11, 2003


ghuH Daq Hegh DaH.
posted by quonsar at 7:56 PM on May 11, 2003


Just FYI, the ADA does not require states to hire translators of any kind. The Civil Rights Act used to, but doesn't anymore after a particularly odious Supreme Court decision a few years ago.
posted by boltman at 10:00 PM on May 11, 2003


Anyone who speaks Klingon NEEDs to be a mental patient. (full disclosure-there is a klingon-english dictionary in my house.)
posted by konolia at 6:37 AM on May 12, 2003


But the Klingons hate freedom...
posted by drstrangelove at 6:50 AM on May 12, 2003


Seems reasonable to me. The psychiatrist's first step on the road to treating a nutter is to establish some means of communication. Don't think of it as "the nutter refuses to communicate anything but Klingon, how stupid", think of it as "the nutter refuses to communicate, except in Klingon, hence there's a window of communication".

I would expect this particular manifestation to be very rare, but if you have at least one patient who can be treated in that way, then it's worth trying.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 7:20 AM on May 12, 2003


hmm...Fox News presenting an urban legend as fact. hmm!
posted by mcsweetie at 7:50 AM on May 12, 2003


hmm...Fox News presenting an urban legend as fact. hmm!

Heard the same tune on the radio today?!?
posted by thomcatspike at 9:05 AM on May 12, 2003


mcsweetie: fox news and what urban legend now?
posted by turbodog at 10:04 AM on May 12, 2003


turbodog: What's your point? Nobody's denying the kernel of truth in the story, that Klingon is one of a long list of languages that might possibly need interpretation someday. But there's quite a gap between "'What the heck, let's throw it in,' " Jelusich says. "It doesn't cost us any money." (from the news story) and an Oregon county department for human services scours the county/state/country/world/universe for Klingon-English interpreters (from the MeFi post; similarly in a thousand other blogs, including mine before I encountered the Kuro5shin deflation). It's the idea that "they're looking for Klingon interpreters!" that caused the fuss, and it is indeed an urban legend.
posted by languagehat at 12:29 PM on May 12, 2003


The implication is that, by including it on the list, they have (or are really, not legendarily, searching for) at least one person who speaks klingon. This being Portland, they wouldn't be hard to find. At worst, we borrow Eugene's,

What if we were talking about Vietnamese. They throw it on the list because it doesn't cost anything, but don't actually know any Vietnamese speakers? No way.
posted by turbodog at 9:47 PM on May 12, 2003


Well, it's a moot point now: Klingon has been delisted.
The office that treats mental health patients in Multnomah County had included Klingon on a list of 55 languages that could be spoken by incoming patients.

But the inclusion of the Star Trek language drew a spate of tongue-in-cheek headlines.

And now the county has rescinded its call, stressing that it hasn't spent a penny of public money on Klingon interpretation.

"It was a mistake, and a result of an overzealous attempt to ensure that our safety net systems can respond to all customers and clients," Multnomah County chair Diane Linn said in a news release.

County officials had previously said that no patient had ever come in speaking only Klingon, but that the county would pay a Klingon interpreter in the unlikely case one was actually needed.
posted by languagehat at 8:04 AM on May 13, 2003


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