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Encyclopedia > Universal translator

The universal translator is a fictional device common to many science fiction works, especially on television. Its purpose is to offer an instant translation of any language. Like hyperdrive, a universal translator is a somewhat improbable technology that is an accepted convention in science fiction stories and serves as a useful plot device. As a convention, it is used to remove the problem of translating between alien languages, unless that problem is essential to the plot. To translate a new language in every episode when a new species or culture is encountered would consume time (especially when most of these shows have a half to one hour format) normally allotted for plot development and would potentially, across many episodes, become repetitive to the point of annoyance. Science fiction is a form of speculative fiction principally dealing with the impact of imagined science and technology, or both, upon society and persons as individuals. ... Look up translate in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Hyperdrive is a name given to certain methods of traveling faster than light (FTL) in science fiction. ... A plot device is a person or an object introduced to a story to affect or advance the plot. ... An alien language is a general term for any language that might be used by putative extraterrestrial lifeforms. ...


Similar real-world technologies are currently far from performing as well as their fictional counterparts, although scientists continue to seek advances.[1] See machine translation and speech recognition for discussions of real-world natural language processing technologies. Machine translation, sometimes referred to by the acronym MT, is a sub-field of computational linguistics that investigates the use of computer software to translate text or speech from one natural language to another. ... Speech recognition (in many contexts also known as automatic speech recognition, computer speech recognition or erroneously as Voice Recognition) is the process of converting a speech signal to a sequence of words, by means of an algorithm implemented as a computer program. ... Natural language processing (NLP) is a subfield of artificial intelligence and linguistics. ...

Contents

General

As a rule, a universal translator is instantaneous, but if that language has never been recorded, there is sometimes a time delay until the translator can properly work out a translation, as in the case of Star Trek. Some writers seek greater plausibility by instead having computer translation that requires collecting a database of the new language, often by listening to radio transmissions. The current Star Trek franchise logo Star Trek is an American science fiction entertainment series. ...


The existence of a universal translator is sometimes problematic in film and television productions from a logical perspective (for example, aliens who still speak English when no universal translator is in evidence and all characters appear to hear the appropriately translated speech instead of the original speech, the ability to speak in the language when direct translation is possible), and requires some suspension of disbelief when characters' mouths move in sync with the translated words and not the original language; nonetheless, it removes the need for cumbersome and potentially extensive subtitles, and it eliminates the rather unlikely supposition that every other race in the galaxy has gone to the trouble of learning English. Suspension of disbelief is an aesthetic theory intended to characterize peoples relationships to art. ...


Depictions

Doctor Who

Using a telepathic field, the TARDIS automatically translates all comprehensible languages into a language understood by the listener/reader. It has featured as a main part of the show many times. The translator is “linked” to the Doctor, just like nearly every piece of equipment on the TARDIS, and sometimes doesn’t function if the Doctor is incapacitated. Telepathy, from the Greek τῆλε, tele, remote; and πάθεια, patheia, to be effected by, describes the hypothetical transfer of information on thoughts or feelings between individuals by means other than the five classical senses. ... The current TARDIS prop as seen at the BBC Wales reception in 2005. ...


Farscape

On the TV show Farscape John Crichton is implanted with a conceivable biological bacteria or nanoimplants, called translator microbes, into his bloodstream through an injection which functions as a Universal Translator. The aliens that implant him are puzzled at why, "...he wasn't injected at birth". The microbes find their way to the base of the brain and learn the language and makes the user understand everything said to him. This does not enable the injected person to speak other languages, they continue to speak in their own language and are merely understood by others as long as they possess the microbes. The microbes sometimes fail to translate slang and are unable to translate the natural language of the alien Pilots because their brains are capable of multitasking thought process and every word they say in their language has too much meaning to be translated. The implanted can learn to speak new languages if they want or to make communicating with non-injected individuals possible. The crew of Moya learned English from their human friend John Crichton, later visited Earth and were able to communicate with the non-implanted populace. Some species such as the Kalish cannot take translator microbes because their body rejects them so they must learn a new language the hard way. Farscape (1999–2003) is a science fiction television series, featuring a present-day astronaut who accidentally travels through a wormhole to a distant part of the galaxy. ... Moya is a character/spacecraft in the Farscape universe. ... John Robert Crichton, Jr. ... The Kalish are a fictional alien race in the Farscape universe. ...


Futurama

Almost everybody in the Futurama universe speaks English, with no explanation being given, though it is possibly due to the fact that Earth seems to be a fairly dominant planet in galactic politics. A Universal Translator does exist, created by Professor Farnsworth, but while it can translate any language, it can only translate them into French (which, by the year 3000, is a dead language; in the French version of Futurama, the dead language is German). Futurama is an Emmy Award-winning animated American sitcom created by Matt Groening (creator of The Simpsons) and David X. Cohen for the Fox network. ... Professor Hubert J. Farnsworth (born April 9, 2841) is the extremely elderly proprietor of the Planet Express delivery service in the fictional animated television series Futurama. ...

  • Farnsworth: And this is my universal translator. Unfortunately so far it only translates into an incomprehensible dead language.
  • Cubert: Hello.
  • Universal Translator: Bonjour!
  • Farnsworth: Crazy gibberish!

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

See Babel Fish Anatomy of a babel fish as illustrated in the BBC TV series by Rod Lord. ...


In the universe of "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy", universal translation is made possible by a small fish. The fish is inserted into the auditory canal where it feeds off the mental frequencies of those speaking to its host. In turn it excretes a translation into the brain of its host.


The Last Starfighter

Alex Rogan was taken to the Starfighter Command on Rylos, where he was later given a chip that was attached to the collar part of his shirt, so Alex could hear English from the Rylos race and other alien races.


Star Control

In the Star Control computer game series, almost all races are implied to have universal translators; however, discrepancies between the ways aliens choose to translate themselves sometimes crop up and complicate communications. The VUX, for instance, are cited as having uniquely advanced skills in linguistics and are able to translate human language long before humans are capable of doing the same to the VUX. This created a problem during the first contact between Vux and humans, in a starship commanded by Captain Rand. According to Star Control: Great Battles of the Ur-Quan Conflict, Captain Rand is referred to as saying "That is one ugly sucker" when the image of a VUX first came onto his viewscreen. However, in Star Control II, Captain Rand is referred to as saying "That is the ugliest freak-face I've ever seen" to his first officer, along with joking that the VUX name stands for Very Ugly Xenoform. It is debatable which source is canon. Whichever the remark, it is implied that the VUX's advanced Universal Translator technologies conveyed the exact meaning of Captain Rand's words. The effete VUX used the insult as an excuse for hostility toward humans. The Star Control series is a trilogy of computer games with a cult following. ... The VUX are a fictional race of beings featured in the sci-fi Star Control computer game series. ... The Star Control series is a trilogy of computer games with a cult following. ... The Star Control series is a trilogy of computer games with a cult following. ...


Also, a new race called the Orz was introduced in Star Control II. They presumably come from another dimension, and at first contact, the ship's computer says that there are many vocal anomalies in their language resulting from their referring to concepts or phenomena for which there are no equivalents in human language. The result is dialogue that is a patchwork of ordinary words and phrases marked with *asterisk pairs* indicating that they are very loose translations of unique Orz concepts into human language, a full translation of which would probably require paragraph-long definitions. (For instance, the Orz refer to the human dimension as *heavy space* and their own as *Pretty Space*, to various categories of races as *happy campers* or *silly cows*, and so on.) The Orz are a fictional race of beings featured in the sci-fi Star Control computer game series. ...


In the other direction, the Supox are a race portrayed as attempting to mimic as many aspects of other races' language and culture as possible when speaking to them, to the point of referring to their own planet as “Earth,” also leading to confusion. Spoiler warning: The Supox Utricularia are a fictional race of beings featured in the sci-fi Star Control computer game series. ... Adjectives: Terrestrial, Terran, Telluric, Tellurian, Earthly Atmosphere Surface pressure: 101. ...


In Star Control III, the K’tang are portrayed as an intellectually inferior species using advanced technology they do not fully understand in order to intimidate people, perhaps explaining why their translators’ output is littered with misspellings and nonstandard usages of words, like threatening to “crushify” the player. Along the same lines, the Daktaklakpak dialogue is highly stilted and contains many numbers and mathematical expressions, implying that, as a mechanical race, their thought processes are inherently too different from humans’ to be directly translated into human language. The Ktang are small, weak, cowardly worms with minimal intelligence, low cunning, and a bad case of spinal column envy. ... The Daktaklakpak are a fictional race of aliens from the sci-fi computer game Star Control 3. ...


Stargate

In the television shows Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis, there are no personal translation devices used, and most alien and Human cultures on other planets speak English. The makers of the show have themselves admitted this on the main SG-1 site, stating that this is to save spending ten minutes an episode on characters learning a new language (early episodes of SG-1 revealed the difficulties of attempting to write such processes into the plot). In the season 8 finale of SG-1, “Moebius (Part II),” the characters go back in time to 3000 B.C. and one of them teaches English to the people there. Fans have speculated that the language could have been secretly adopted then and carried on from planet to planet, leading to today’s situation in which most planets speak English, in spite of the evident lack of scientific credibility in this theory, especially considering almost every alien race encountered speaks nearly perfect, modern English, when a language would almost certainly change beyond recognition in that length of time. Stargate SG-1 (often abbreviated as SG-1) is a science fiction television series, part of the Stargate franchise. ... Stargate Atlantis is a Canadian-American science fiction television program, part of the Stargate franchise. ... Moebius (Parts 1 and 2) are the Season 8 finale episodes of the science fiction television series Stargate SG-1. ...


A notable exception to this rule are the Goa’uld, who occasionally speak their own language amongst themselves or when giving orders to their Jaffa. This is never subtitled, but occasionally a translation is given by a third character (usually Teal’c or Daniel Jackson), ostensibly for the benefit of the human characters nearby who do not speak Goa’uld. The Asgard are also shown having their own “language” (apparently related to the Norse languages), although it is in fact English played backwards. (see Hermiod). This article or section cites very few or no references or sources. ... The Goauld language is a fictional language spoken by the Goauld and Jaffa from the television series Stargate SG-1. ... Jaffa port Jaffa ( Hebrew: יָפוֹ, Yafo Arabic: يَافَا  ; also Japho, Joppa; also, ~1350 B.C.E. Amarna Letters: Yapu; ), is an ancient port city located in south Tel Aviv, Israel on the Mediterranean Sea. ... Tealc [ˈtiːəlk] (born c. ... Daniel Jackson (b. ... In the science fiction series Stargate SG-1, the Asgard are a benevolent, highly advanced and evolved race from another galaxy, called Ida, who have visited Earth on many occasions, giving rise to the Norse legends. ... In the Stargate fictional universe, the Asgard are one of the most advanced races ever encountered, and the most friendly towards Earth. ...


Given that the Asgard and the Ancients were existent in the same 'Alliance of Four Great Races', it is possible that English was used as the universal language mentioned in "The Torment of Tantalus". Considering also that both races play or played a pivotal role in the interplanetary relations of several galaxies, as well as dealings with the Goa'uld, this could be the explanation of the existence of English as a semi-universal language. This would mean that, instead of other planets speaking Earth-developed English, Earth is in actuality speaking Alien-developed English, and as the Asgard and Goa'uld are cited as the source of a number of other Earth languages, would seem to be the case. An Ancient The Ancients are a fictional race in the Stargate universe. ... In the science fiction television series Stargate SG-1, the alliance of four great races was an ancient alliance of four advanced species that was built over many millennia and existed before the rise of the Goauld and the Wraith. ... The Torment of Tantalus is an episode from the first season of the science fiction television series Stargate SG-1. ...


Star Trek

In Star Trek, the Universal Translator was used by Ensign Hoshi Sato, the communications officer on the Enterprise in Star Trek: Enterprise, to invent the linguacode matrix in her late 30s. It was supposedly first used in the late 21st century on Earth for the instant translation of well-known Earth languages (for example Russian translation). Gradually, with the removal of language barriers, Earth’s disparate cultures came to terms of universal peace. Translations of previously unknown languages, such as those of aliens, required more difficulties to be overcome. Like most other common forms of Star Trek technology (warp drive, transporters, etc.), the Universal Translator was probably developed independently on several worlds as an inevitable requirement of space travel; certainly the Vulcans had no difficulty communicating with humans upon making “first contact” (although the Vulcans could have learned English from monitoring Earth radio transmissions). The current Star Trek franchise logo Star Trek is an American science fiction entertainment series. ... Ensign is a commissioned rank of the Starfleet in the fictional universe of Star Trek. ... Spoiler warning: Hoshi Sato (July 9th, 2128-2246) is a character in the fictional Star Trek universe and the communication officer aboard the starship Enterprise (NX-01) in the science fiction television series Star Trek: Enterprise. ... The Enterprise (NX-01) is a starship in the Star Trek fictional universe commanded by Captain Jonathan Archer. ... The starship Enterprise (NX-01) Star Trek: Enterprise is a science fiction television series set in the Star Trek universe. ... Each language has its grammatical, lexical, syntactic, etc. ... Vulcans are a humanoid species in the fictional Star Trek universe who reside on the planet Vulcan and are noted for their attempt to live by reason and logic. ... Star Trek: First Contact (Paramount Pictures, 1996; see also 1996 in film), is the eighth feature film based on the popular Star Trek science fiction television series. ...


Improbably, the universal translator has been successfully used to interpret non-biological lifeform communication (in the Original Series episode “Metamorphosis”). In the Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG) episode “The Ensigns of Command,” the translator proved ineffective with the language of the Sheliaks, so the Federation had to depend on the aliens’ interpretation of Earth languages. It is speculated that the Sheliak communicate amongst themselves in extremely complex legalese. The TNG episode “Darmok” also illustrates another instance where the universal translator proves ineffective and unintelligible, because the Tamarian language is too deeply rooted in local metaphor. Metamorphosis is a second season episode of Star Trek: The Original Series first broadcast November 10, 1967 and repeated July 19, 1968. ... The title as it appeared in most episodes opening credits. ... The Ensigns of Command is a third season Star Trek: The Next Generation episode. ... This is a list of species and races from the fictional universe of Star Trek. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Legalese is the term given to the special technical terminology of any given language (usually English) in a legal document. ... Darmok is an episode of the television science fiction series Star Trek: The Next Generation. ... Look up metaphor in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...


Unlike virtually every other form of Federation technology, Universal Translators almost never break down. Phasers can be rendered inert, communicators blocked, shields broken through, warp cores breached, but through it all, Universal Translators make certain that everyone knows what is going on. Although they were clearly in widespread use during Captain Kirk’s time (inasmuch as the crew regularly communicated with species who could not conceivably have knowledge of English), it is unclear where they were carried on personnel of that era; possibly they existed as implanted devices before that practice was deemed too potentially dangerous and discarded by the era of Next Generation. Captain is a commissioned rank of the Starfleet in the fictional universe of Star Trek. ... James Tiberius Kirk, played by William Shatner, is the main character in the original Star Trek television series and the films based on it. ...


The episode “Metamorphosis” was the only time in which the device was actually seen. During Kirk's era, they were also apparently less perfect in their translations into Klingon. In the sixth Star Trek film, the characters are seen relying on books (print books, no less) in order to communicate with a Klingon military ship, since Chekov said that the Klingons would recognize the use of a Translator. Actress Nichelle Nichols reportedly protested this scene, as she felt that Uhura, as communications officer, would be fluent in Klingon. Metamorphosis is a second season episode of Star Trek: The Original Series first broadcast November 10, 1967 and repeated July 19, 1968. ... The Klingon language (tlhIngan Hol in Klingon) is the constructed language spoken by Klingons in the fictional Star Trek universe. ... Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (Paramount Pictures, 1991; see also 1991 in film) is the sixth feature film based on the popular Star Trek science fiction television series. ... Pavel Andreievich Chekov, Commander, SF, (Cyrillic: Павел Андреевич Чеков), played by Walter Koenig, is a Russian Starfleet officer in the fictional Star Trek universe. ... Nichelle Nichols (born Grace Nichols on December 28, 1932) is an American singer, actress, and voice actress. ... Uhura, played by Nichelle Nichols, is a character in Star Trek: The Original Series and the first six Star Trek films. ... Fluent can refer to: fluency, in linguistics, the ability to communicate quickly fluent (mathematics), in mathematics, a countinous function fluent (artificial intelligence), in artificial intelligence, a condition that varies over time Fluent, Inc. ...


By the 24th century, Universal Translators are built into the communicator pins worn by Starfleet personnel, although, since crew members (such as Riker in the Next Generation episode “First Contact”) have spoken to newly encountered aliens even when deprived of their communicators, some other factor must also be at work. Starfleet Command symbol In the fictional universe of Star Trek, Starfleet is the paramilitary defense, research, diplomacy, and exploration force of the United Federation of Planets (UFP) with – as of the late 24th century – hundreds of starships and starbases at its disposal. ... For the political scientist, see William H. Riker. ... The title as it appeared in most episodes opening credits. ... First Contact is a fourth season episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. ...


In some episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, we see a Cardassian universal translator at work. It takes some time to process an alien language, whose speakers are initially not understandable but as they continue speaking, the computer gradually learns their language and renders it into English (also known as Federation Standard). Space station Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (ST:DS9 or STDS9 or DS9 for short) is a science fiction television series produced by Paramount and set in the Star Trek universe. ... Cardassians are a spacefaring race in the fictional Star Trek universe. ...


Ferengi customarily wear their Universal Translators as an implant in their ears. In The Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (DS9) episode “Little Green Men,” the humans without translators are able to understand the Ferengi once the Ferengi get their own translators working. Similarly, throughout all Trek series, a Universal Translator possessed by only one party enables communication between two or more parties, all speaking different languages. The devices appear to be standard equipment on starships and space stations, where a communicator pin would therefore presumably not be strictly necessary. The Ferengi are a fictional extraterrestrial race from the Star Trek universe. ... Space station Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (ST:DS9 or STDS9 or DS9 for short) is a science fiction television series produced by Paramount and set in the Star Trek universe. ... Little Green Men is the title of an episode from the fourth season of the television series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. ...


Since the Universal Translator presumably does not physically affect the process by which the user's vocal cords (or alien equivalent) forms audible speech (i.e. the user is nonetheless speaking in his/her/its own language regardless of the listener's language), the listener apparently hears only the speaker's translated words and not the alien language that the speaker is actually, physically articulating; the unfamiliar oratory is therefore not only translated but somehow replaced. This implies the Universal Translator may work at least partially on a telepathic level.


Star Wars

The Star Wars films feature a situation where there is a galaxywide lingua franca, Galactic Basic, which sounds remarkably like English (although the written form, Aurebesh, replaces each letter with a different shape); it is unsure if the language is supposed to sound exactly like English, or if it is supposed to be “translated” into English. Unlike, for instance, the Stargate universe, the different species are shown to have their own languages (for instance, Huttese), which are “translated” for the viewer by means of subtitles, or a third character acting as an interpreter. The idea of a common language being spread throughout the galaxy is consistent with the Star Wars universe’s concept of a galaxywide unified government (the Old Republic) having existed for millennia. Star Wars is an epic science fantasy saga and fictional universe created by George Lucas during the late 1970s. ... Lingua franca, literally Frankish language in Italian, was originally a mixed language consisting largely of Italian plus a vocabulary drawn from Turkish, Persian, French, Greek and Arabic and used for communication throughout the Middle East. ... The fictional universe of Star Wars is a multilingual one, in which it is common to have either a passive or active understanding of many multiple languages from numerous alien races and cultures. ... The Aurebesh script Aurebesh is the alphabet commonly used to represent the English (Galactic Basic) language in the Star Wars universe. ... An activated Stargate, the central object of the fictional Stargate universe, here depicted in the SG-1 television series. ... Huttese is the language spoken by the fictional Hutt species of the Star Wars saga. ...


Unreal

A Universal Translator machine can be found in the game Unreal as a usable item. It is mostly used to read Nali and Skaarj inscriptions from books, screens etc. Unreal is a first-person shooter computer game developed by Epic Games and published by GT Interactive (now owned by Atari) on May 22, 1998. ...


Non-device translators

Most of the time, the universal translator is depicted as a machine that works with a communications monitor. An exception is the Babel fish from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, a small organism that fits in the user’s ear. (The Babel fish itself is a parody of the universal translator convention.) Anatomy of a babel fish as illustrated in the BBC TV series by Rod Lord. ... The cover of the first novel in the Hitchhikers series, from a late 1990s printing. ...


Another exception is the “translator microbes” from the Farscape series, which were probably inspired by the Babel fish. Farscape (1999–2003) is a science fiction television series, featuring a present-day astronaut who accidentally travels through a wormhole to a distant part of the galaxy. ...


In K. A. Applegate’s famous science fiction series, Animorphs, all Andalite warriors have miniature translator chips in their brains, which enable them to readily understand any spoken alien language. This is mentioned in The Hork-Bajir Chronicles and The Andalite Chronicles. However, in the series most aliens possess “thought-speak,” a type of telepathic communication, which operates more on the essence of thoughts than the words themselves; thus, an alien can thought-speak in their own language, but everyone hears it as their own. When morphed into a non-thought-speaking creature, such as a human, aliens seem to gain the ability to speak English, possibly due to a translator. Some aliens also seem to speak English without a translator, such as the free Hork-Bajir and the last Arn (though the latter explains that he studied the language, learning it quickly while in orbit). There is also a lingua franca called galard, used in communication between aliens capable of speaking it. Katherine Alice Applegate is the credited author of the Animorphs, Remnants, and Everworld book series, although many of these books are ghostwritten by other authors. ... Animorphs logo, featuring the main characters Animorphs is an English language science fiction series of young adult books written by K. A. Applegate and published by Scholastic. ...


In the video game The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap, Link learns to talk to the inch-high Minish race by eating a Jabber Nut acquired in the Minish village. Minish seems to be the only language that Jabber Nuts enable the user to speak, as otherwise the Minish would eat the nuts themselves and learn to speak English. When Link is in his Minish form, he can talk to animals such as dogs, cats, chickens, cows and horses; it is unknown whether this is an effect of the Nut or of Minish DNA. The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap is a game for the Nintendo Game Boy Advance. ... Link ) is the fictional protagonist of Nintendos The Legend of Zelda video game series created by Shigeru Miyamoto. ...


In anime and manga series Doraemon, one of recurring items is translation konjac, who enable everyone who eat it to be fluent in any languange on current universe. Original run {{{first_aired}}} – March 25, 2005 No. ...


In Isaac Asimov’s Norby series, being bitten by a Jamyan dragon enables one to speak their language. Isaac Asimov (January 2?, 1920? – April 6, 1992, IPA: , originally Исаак Озимов but now transcribed into Russian as Айзек Азимов) was a Russian-born American author and professor of biochemistry, a highly successful and exceptionally prolific writer best known for his works of science fiction and for his popular science books. ... Norby is a fictional robot created by Isaac Asimov and Janet Asimov who stars in his own series of childrens science fiction books, The Norby Chronicles. ...


In the DC Comics universe, the Absorbascon is a Thanagarian device used by Hawkman to learn the languages of Earth. DC Comics is an American comic book and related media company. ... Thanagar is a fictional planet in the DC Comics universe. ... For other meanings of the term, see Hawkman (disambiguation) Hawkman is a fictional character in the DC Comics universe. ...

  • Universal Translator (UT) may also refer to Ectaco series of multilingual handheld electronic dictionaries.

External links

  • Universal translator article at Memory Alpha, a Star Trek wiki
  • Universal Translator A Universal Translator / Visual Dictionary. It works by displaying images of the word/s that you input which in theory someone from any country should be able to understand.
  • ULRTMT for Skype The Universal Real-Time Message Translator and the UCTS for Skype is about a close as we have come to doing translation with chat message text in real time. Currently they support 38 different language combinations and the UTCS also speaks as well, which allow many people using many different languages to be in the same chat using their native language and yet understand each other. Both are free.

  Results from FactBites:
 
Universal translator - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (2409 words)
Like hyperdrive, a universal translator is a somewhat improbable technology that is an accepted convention in science fiction stories and serves as a useful plot device.
The fact that a universal translator is not obvious in much science fiction is general to the fact that perhaps ESP or alternative realities can explain the paradox that arise in order to correct errors in the subject's definition for which object exists as the translation.
Unlike, for instance, the Stargate universe, the different species are shown to have their own languages (for instance, Huttese), which are 'translated' for the viewer by means of subtitles, or a third character acting as an interpreter.
universal translator (678 words)
It is used in the Star Trek universe to avoid plot complications arising from different intelligent species, for example, humans and Klingons, attempting to communicate with each other.
According to Trek mythos, on Earth the universal translator (UT) was invented shortly before 2151 but still experimental at the time of the launch of the first starship Enterprise (ENT: "Broken Bow").
The Companion was revealed to be female because the universal translator detected this facet of its identity from its brainwave patterns, and assigned it a female voice (TOS: "Metamorphosis").
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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