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Old December 13 2012, 07:20 AM   #25
emergencyfruit
Lieutenant Junior Grade
 
Location: Minnesota, USA
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Re: They teach Latin at Starfleet Academy?

Learning languages is engaging and complex, and specifically Latin would allow a much greater appreciation of history, including everything Earth history can teach us about war, diplomacy, politics, and human behavior over the long run.

And while technically the universal translators can make fluent changes, sometimes there may simply be no English word to match the foreign one. You see that today all the time with cultural idioms, or even simple vocabulary. In German, there's a non-vulgar word which refers to a person who is outrageously tactless, arrogant, or otherwise insufferable: Backpfeifengesicht. The closest approximation English can make is "a face that cries out for a fist in it". So the universal translators, on seeing that word, must either turn the one word into that roundabout (if humorous) phrase, or else replace it with some other, less perfect word. Perfectly fine for day-to-day, but the true zest of the original would be forever just out of reach...
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