The Not-So-Secret Language Of The Misfit Shine

Here’s a random tidbit about the Misfit Shine, the activity tracker from Misfit Wearables.

I ran into CEO Sonny Vu about a week ago, and when he pulled a Misfit Shine out of his bag, he pointed out something that no one seems to have noticed. Or if they noticed it, they didn’t say anything about it online.

It’s been there since the Shine launched last year, on the back of the packaging, right below the Arabic. What’s that weird language there? Apparently, anyone who saw the “KL” label assumed that it stood for Kuala Lumpur (which is not a country or a language, but, okay).

Nope. It’s Klingon. Vu explained via email, “The alternative was Elvish but we didn’t know any reasonably solid speakers.”

It’s a funny idea, if you have the right (nerdy) sense of humor. And hey, translating “I am Shine, your physical activity monitor. You can wear me anywhere. Tap me for your progress and the time.” into Klingon probably required less effort than, say, creating the Klingon Hamlet.

There was a tradeoff, however. In order to make the room for the Klingon text, the company had to get rid of Russian. “Which, in retrospect, we probably shouldn’t have done,” Vu admitted — it made things a little awkward a few weeks later when Misfit was approached by the company that eventually became its Russian partner. Vu pointed out that even though the language was removed from the packaging, the app and the website have been translated into Russian.

“We’re now sold in 32 countries, not including Qo’noS,” he said.

[photo by Susan Hobbs]