...the Macintosh scene doesn't by default make Scotty look like an idiot. The translation scene in VI does makes everyone involved look rather foolish at best.
Yes, but that's not the distinction I was trying to make. Both the Scotty scene in TVH
and the Uhura scene in TUC
make us wonder what the character is supposed to already know (or not know) when confronted with a novel situation, such as working a first-generation Macintosh or conversing in Klingon. But the risk of taking the audience out of the story to wonder about this is balanced by the humor of the situation, so it's worth it.
(Also, the crew in the TUC
scene didn't look that foolish by comparison to Scotty walking into a bulkhead in the previous movie, and the TUC
scene was a lot funnier to boot.)