In the TNG episode Aquiel, a Klingon officer is being questioned for possible involvement in the death of a Starfleet officer on a subspace relay. Worf snarls at him;

WORF: Have the courage to admit your mistakes. Or are you a lo'Be Vos?

TNG: Aquiel - Original Screenplay

Has the end phrase "lo'Be Vos" ever been translated, and if so, as what?

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    "Thing without courage". I will leave it to a proper Klingonese scholar to answer in detail. – Politank-Z Jul 14 '17 at 0:31
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    This question is the third result on google for the query "lo'be vos'", and the first two just define it as "a thing without courage" and cite the same episode as you. I'll be very impressed if someone produces a substantial answer. – ApproachingDarknessFish Jul 14 '17 at 1:36
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    Orkrand's Klingon Dictionary (1992) doesn't have Klingon entries for lo'be or vos, and it doesn't have an English entry for 'courage' either. The Klingon translation it gives for 'coward' is nuch. ("Aquiel" aired in 1993.) – Ryan Veeder Jul 14 '17 at 3:20
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    @RyanVeeder If you have the second edition of The Klingon Dictionary (the white one), courage will be in the addendum, translated as toDuj; this word was invented to Star Trek V as a retcon for where an actor had accidentally said toDDuj (rescue ship) in the wrong place. – loghaD Jul 19 '17 at 15:55

Long story short:

No idea.

Long story long:

Sadly, most of the Klingon heard in the various Star Trek series is pure gibberish, made up to sound good rather than to fit in with the established language. Klingon-speakers pejoratively describe this as Paramount Hol ("Paramount-ese"), in contrast with tlhIngan Hol ("Klingonese")

lo'Be Vos is one example of this. The spelling does not agree with the spelling conventions of romanized tlhIngan Hol, nor does it have any established meaning. Therefore, unless somebody has made up and published a translation for it, the meaning exists only in the scriptwriter's head.

There is no translation given in the version of the episode script available on Star Trek Minutiae. Nor does a search of Memory Alpha, Memory Beta or Google Books turn up any translation from a canonical or otherwise licensed works.

Googling turns up a lot of fan speculation, most of which seems to trace back to either this Angelfire site or Voragh's guide to Klingon cursing. The two translations given are "thing without courage" or "unspecified creator". The "thing without courage" interpretation seems to be derived from context, but where the "unspecified creator" interpretation comes from I have no idea.

From the form of the word, it does look like the author might have intended for lo'Be to mean "useless". lo' is Klingon for "use" (verb) and "usage" (noun), and -be' is a verb negation suffix, so lo'be' means "she/he/it doesn't use" or "they don't use". A better translation would be lI'be' (be useless, be not useful) or lo'laHbe' (be worthless).

  • Perhaps Worf's Klingon got a bit rusty after growing up with the Rozhenkos. </sarcasm> – ench Aug 15 '17 at 21:06

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