Klingon Language Lab

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Title splash
The Klingon Language Lab is a learning tool added on CD 3 of the Star Trek: Klingon computer game.

Chapters and Categories

The Klingon Language Lab is set up in several chapters to learn the language.

Hol

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Hol mode
The chapter Hol (Klingon for "language") is the practice part showing vocabulary for practice. It shows the Klingon word or phrase and its English translation, accompanied by an image. It is possible to switch the image to a short video clip of Gowron saying the word. For some words, a "more" button can be clicked to explain the background or the meaning of the word. Transcripts of these can be found on Klingon CD notes.

In this section, the user can click on a microphone symbol to activate the speech recognition. The user could then speak the word and find out if they did well. At the time of the release in 1996, this was a highly advanced technology. As it was not able to recognize all kinds of pronunciation, it compared the spoken sound to some pre-recorded mis-pronunciations. If the sound was very much off, then a soundfile is heard explaining the mistake. Transcripts of these can be found on Klingon CD notes.

Drill

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drill mode
The drill mode can be seen as the practice or game mode. The user is given a word acompanied with four options to choose from.

Phoneme

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pronunciation
An extra chapter for pronunciation was very useful to learn the game, and its sound examples are still around as good examples for pronunciation.

Categories

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Categories
The vocabulary provided in the Language Lab is divided in eight categories, sorted in the following order:
  • phrases
  • myths & legends
  • curses
  • Hol
  • commands
  • food & drink
  • weapons
  • rituals

Compatibility with modern computer systems

Due to being a 16 Bit program, modern 64 Bit systems cannot run this program anymore. Emulation software is required, a "virtual machine" running an older system. DOSBox running windows 3.1 is able to offer most of the features of the language lab, but since DOSBox does NOT provide an actual microphone, you can only use it as a vocabulary trainer, not as a tool to check your pronunciation.

A personal note from a user

bubble   This is an OPINION PAGE. It may contain different points of view about different parts of Klingon. You may add useful thoughts, but please remember this is not a forum.

the author of this "personal note" is not known.

Language Lab - that sounds nice, doesn't it? Technically it's nothing more than a vocabulary trainer, though quite a sophisticated one. Any word you learn will be spoken, some even accompanied by a short video clip — Gowron himself is giving you a language lessen — and/or a picture of it. The quality of the pictures and videos isn't too good, but it's an old program, so it's not their fault.

As any good vocabulary trainer, it does have different modi to work, showing pictures or showing pIqaD. Of course, since words alone are a bit dull, there are some phrases in it too.

Well, you might ask yourself "So, what's so great about this then?" by now. I'll tell you. An integrated part of the program is the Dragon Systems Speech Recognition Software. That means that you can actually speak the Klingon to your computer and it will recognize it (if spoken correct) or tell you what you did wrong.

At least, that's how it's supposed to work. The main problem with that is that at the time the program was created, the recognition software wasn't able to recognize everything the user said. So they used a clever trick - they recorded several WRONG pronounciations (in Star Trek: Klingon - The Book they say that was the hardest part - getting professional speakers to actually speak wrongly), which then could be easier recognized by the program. That way they could provide useful hints about how to better pronounce the words. Unfortunately, it does not always succeed, so that it sometimes tries to help you by telling you what you did wrong, when you did something completely different wrong. Yet it's a nice program - and it CAN tell you when you hit the mark. (Also, it helps getting used to speaking Klingon aloud without having a stupid feeling. At least, for me it did).

I think that sums it up - one last thing I'd like to mention. Some of you surely will have thought of expanding the (limited) set of words known to the Language Lab. Nice idea. Won't work though. At least I didn't succeed - let me tell you why. (If you don't care - forget the rest, it's boring anyway.)

Although the helping files (audio and text) as well as videos and pictures are freely available (WAV, TXT, AVI, BMP), the speech-recognition is not. The pre-recorded samples of right and wrong are encoded in a special file, used by Dragon Systems. So although you could expand the words themselves, you won't be able to expand the speech recognition part. Unless, that is, you have a new data file for it. At least that's what I assume, because I never managed to find one. During my tries to expand the database, I "aquired" one of the Speech Recognition programs by Dragon Systems (note: it left my computer long time ago, as I have no use for such). Unfortunately, the program was rather new (compared to Language Labs), so it used a different type of file (actually, I think they're the same, because the header had a similar ID, but it also seemed to have a version number in it - while the one of Language Lab was 1, this one was 5), so it never worked replacing the files. (Also, I found no way to save selected words and variations of it.) My assumption therefore is that one would need a program using the same files as Language Lab, which is probably next to impossible, it's quite likely the engine used was an early model that never was sold itself.
Category: Canon    Latest edit: 31 May 2019, by KlingonTeacher    Created: 02 Mar 2014 by LieVen
History: r14 < r13 < r12 < r11 - View wiki text
 
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