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Old February 13 2013, 12:39 AM   #638
Reverend
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Re: Farscape or Babylon 5?

JoeD80 wrote: View Post
kirk55555 wrote: View Post
I doubt every alien on the station not only learned english, but also the language of every other alien species.
There are three main languages: English, Centauri, and Interlac. The aliens that have to use translation devices are shown using them - like the pak'ma'ra.
Additionally, it's worth bearing in mind that B5 is a trading hub in neutral territory, so the majority of visitors are going to be merchants and the like. As such it stands to reason that it'd be good business to be at least passably fluent in the major trading languages.

It should also be noted that while their are translators--as seen being used by the pak'ma'ra, Gaim, Vorlons, whatever race N'grath was and I think the Llort too--they're not *universal* translators like in Trek. They need to be pre-programmed for specific language translations. This actually becomes a recurring plot point of Crusade, the short lived sequel series as they have to have a xeno-linguistic specialist aboard to figure out every new alien-of-the-week language they come across.

As for Interlac while it's never spoken by any character on screen, if you listen carefully you can actually hear it over the PA announcements in the customs area. As the name implies, Interlac is an artificial language devised specifically for inter-species communication and as such is meant to be fairly simple to translate. I'm not sure if JMS ever said who came up with it, but the Centauri are the most likely candidates. They're one of the older of the younger races and have a long history of trade...usually as a means of imperialist expansion...so pretty much how English became so wide spread on Earth.
hyzmarca wrote: View Post
Convictions - G'Kar and Londo trapped in the elevator were great scenes, although it makes me wonder, again, why there is no personnel communication devices for people besides station personnel.
The show was written before cell phones became ubiquitous. Earthforce communicators are fancy walkies talkies and serve the same purpose. It's one of those things that seems dated because it is.
I've always assumed that it was simply because all the heavy metal bulkheads make long-range radio communication impractical. I mean every compartment would essentially be a Faraday cage, no? One assumes that the personal links work off a network of internal communications nodes so anyone with a link is always within range. There may also be some security reason (like bandwidth crowding?) for forcing non-station personnel to rely on fixed terminals. It may also be partly economic as people placing a call need to use their credit chit to pay for it.

Later on in the show we do actually see non-EF personnel using wireless communicators on the station (called "hand-mikes" I think) but IIRC they're all downbelow criminal types so maybe it uses a pirate channel of some kind?

Last edited by Reverend; February 13 2013 at 12:50 AM.
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