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Old October 18 2008, 10:29 PM   #88
Nerys Ghemor
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Location: Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
Re: Star Trek: Sigils and Unions--The Thirteenth Order

Good catch, TimmyWI, and thanks! That's fixed now.

Almost everything was in English on the series minus some Klingon we were allowed to hear untranslated (and one incident with Dominionese where the translator was deliberately switched off), but that's always chalked up to the Universal Translator. In a written format, I can take more liberties with that and start to really bring in some of the local flavor, so to speak.

At least in the Sigils and Unions universe, once you start to gain familiarity with a language other than your own, the UT will act less and less until it finally doesn't act for you on that language at all without a specific request to do so. The less-active role of the UT in my universe is to prevent some of the consequences that could come from constant use. (For a very interesting treatment of the UT where one set of consequences DOES occur, I could point you to an excellent story by Mistral.)

In other words, the more Spirodopoulos hears and actually understands of Cardăsda, the more he's going to hear their words as actually spoken, rather than as translated. The process started when the Cardassians taught a bit of the base grammar and vocabulary. In effect, his translator implant is causing him to get a step-by-step immersion course. The extent of this effect differs for each Starfleet officer, though--not all of them are attempting to learn, and those who are will learn at a different pace depending on how much they interact and how much they actually attempt to speak Cardăsda.

Though I am not going to always reflect it in the story, I'd say that Spirodopoulos now hears the sorts of things you'd learn in your first semester of a language course as they actually are in Cardăsda, even if he's not always comfortable answering them that way (especially given how important clear communication is under circumstances like this). He's also started to make a little headway with the written language--he can at least read the inscriptions you see on any Guard officer's armor.

As to the consequences of their coming together on this--yeah, there's no way a situation like that is going to be easy, even if the commanding officers are able to establish some kind of rapport with each other. Conveying that to those under them is a whole different matter.
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