"The ship does not work."
Would Qapbe' and not vumbe' in this case? Is vum a verb that applies only to sentient beings in terms of the definition 'to work', whereas 'Qap'
Darn ... posted that in error while trying to edit the first sentence. I meant to finish it with, does Qap mean something more like 'to function properly' for devices or non-sentient beings, at least in terms of the 'to work' definition? Qap, for humanoids or beings, means something more like 'to succeed, to win', it seems.
Perhaps it is a mistake to think of either one as "to work", since they are both translations of different meanings of "to work". Qap means "to work" as in to function properly or succeed in what one is trying to do - "function", "succeed", or "win" are much clearer translations. vum means "to work" as in "to toil" or "to put effort into something". You often must vum if you want your plan to Qap. Both people and things can "toil" in an attempt to "function/succeed".
In this case, the Duj may vum very hard, but despite all its effort, it is Qapbe'.