When 29-year-old Michael J. Roney happened upon the audio cassette, “‘Star Trek’ Conversational Klingon” at a discount book store in 2002, he was oblivious to just how integral it’d be to his future. But for just $1, it opened the door to his study of Klingon, the alien language from “Star Trek.”
Fast-forward eight years, and Roney is a professional Klingon translator who gets to travel the globe to provide his unique talent to a variety of companies and organizations.
“[The job] started slowly,” Roney tells us. “A few years back I consulted on a T-shirt project … then I did some volunteer stuff for Google.”
In the spring of 2009, he landed his first major gig with a company called Sophos, an anti-virus and security software organization based in Massachusetts and the United Kingdom. Because of Roney’s knowledge of the “Star Trek” tongue, Sophos users can now protect their computers using Klingon as their language of choice.
So, basically what we’re saying is this: Roney, whose Klingon name is “NaHQun,” gets paid to translate English into Klingon. He’s also a member of the Klingon Language Institute (KLI), the Klingon Assault Group (KAG) and The Empire (TE).
Unsurprisingly, Roney tells us that people have a hard time believing he makes a living with his Klingon expertise.
“People have a hard time accepting Klingon as a real language,” he explains. “They get even more confused when they realize that I’m making money off of this.”
Regardless of the confusion, the Klingon language appears to be gaining momentum. In addition to his work for Google and Sophos, Roney has worked with the Jenolan Caves to provide cave tours in Klingon. He also worked on a project in San Diego that replaced all the English on one of their trolley stations with Klingon for the recent Comic-Con.
This all begs the following question: Is getting a paycheck for speaking Klingon the coolest or the nerdiest job ever?
We’ll let you be the judge of that, but we’ll close with one last quote from Roney:
“I get paid to do my hobby. Isn’t that, like, the ultimate goal?”