Thank goodness they are spending millions of dollars figuring out what the whales are saying. Otherwise we wouldn’t know and we’d wind up just frittering that money away on stuff like world hunger or academic scholarships.

It is a pricey business – whale translating, but, fear not, they are sparing no expense.

Researchers are motoring around in ships equipped with gigantic electric motors instead of gas-powered engines so the engine noise doesn’t upset the whales. Teams of computer programmers are paid to develop applications that use artificial intelligence to figure out what whale sounds mean. Engineers deploy giant floating cables with specially built whale-sound recording devices embedded in them to capture what the whales are saying from miles away. Linguistics experts, biologists and nature buffs spend months on end filming pods of killer whales in an effort to tie what the whales are doing to what the whales are saying.

I bet a lot of what they are saying is: Hey! Here they are again. Let’s make a bunch of irritating, high pitched squeals and see if we can’t bust one of their ear drums.

Of course the Average Joe asks: Who the heck cares what a bunch of whales are talking about?

Shows how much you know, Average Joe. You obviously didn’t see that Star Trek movie where some big space stick, or whatever it was, sets up camp outside Earth and starts hollering for whales to talk to. It hollers so loud it almost destroys the planet before Captain Kirk and company brings a whale back from the past to talk to the space stick.

Now we will be ready with a bit of whale conversation in the event a real-life space stick shows up and our whales are missing. Other than that, I really can’t think of a use for learning whale talk.

Despite all the technology and money they’ve tossed at the problem, they still haven’t figured out what the whales are saying. At least they don’t know what the killer whales are saying. A big gang of researchers follow them all around Canada and Alaska for months at a time and so far all its gotten the researchers is headaches from having to listen to a bunch of whales squeal all day and night. That and sore eardrums.

They tell us that one reason it is difficult to translate their language is killer whales speak different dialects depending on where they come from. I guess dogs bark in the same language, a cow moo is a cow moo no matter where the cow grew up, but whale squeals from Madagascar are a different language than whale squeals from Mexico. No doubt the fact the Canadian whales are probably bi-lingual doesn’t help matters either.

Personally, I think the researchers set their sites too high. They should start with easier, and by ‘easier’ I mean ‘dumber,’ animals to translate than whales such as chickens. Anyone who has spent any time around chickens doesn’t have much trouble figuring out what the chickens are saying.

Hen: Bwaak! Bwaak! Bwaak! Bwaaaaaak!
Translation: There is another hen sitting in the chosen laying box. (Note: Despite the fact there are a dozen laying boxes, all the girls want the same one. It is the Mecca of laying boxes).

Rooster Strutting Slowly Near Hens: Low volume, slow, staccato sort of sound.
Translation: Hello ladies. I hope my barrel chest and wing biceps aren’t distracting you too much.

Hen to Rooster: Low volume Bwaaak.
Translation: Come hither.

If chicken speak turns out to be too tough a language to figure out, they can try their hand with my goats.

Goat: Baaah!

Translation: Feed me.

Goat: Ba-ah-ah-ah!

Translation: Feed me.

Goat: Ba-AAAAH!

Translation: Feed me.

Personally, I would love to see the grant proposal somebody had to cook up to get the funds to research whale talk. I bet it starts with “Are any of you Star Trek fans?”