Okrand worked with
languages. He earned a bachelor's degree from the
University of California, Santa Cruz in 1972. His 1977 doctoral work from the
University of California, Berkeley, was on the grammar of
Mutsun, a dialect of
Ohlone (a.k.a. Southern Costanoan). Southern Costanoan is an
Utian language earlier spoken in the north central Californian coastal areas from Northern Costanoan down to 30 miles south of
Salinas. Okrand's doctoral work was watched over by early
Mary Haas). He taught college
linguistics courses at the
University of California, Santa Barbara, from 1975 to 1978. After that he took a post doctoral
fellowship at the
Washington, D.C., in 1978.
Okrand helped make
closed captioning for the
Oscars award show in 1982. While there Okrand met the
producer for the movie
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
 His first work was replacing in
words for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. The actors had been filmed talking in English. He was then hired by
Paramount Pictures to make the
Klingon language. Okrand also taught the actors using it in
Star Trek III: The Search for Spock,
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, and
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. He was later also hired for the 2009
Star Trek film for their use of the
 He also made a Klingon
dialogue for the 2009 movie, but it was not used in the final edited version.
 Okrand was also involved in
Star Trek Into Darkness, but only after the movie was finished being made.