Locutus of Bored wrote:
My memory is hazy. Was Uhura ever shown to be some sort of amazing linguist in TOS? Because my recollection is that that was more of an invention of Enterprise with Hoshi and nuTrek's Uhura, in order to give the communications officer a more active role in events than just making hails and repeating commands and incoming messages like Sigourney Weaver parodied in Galaxy Quest. I could be wrong on that though.
It's apparently something added to the character by Roddenberry and Nichols for the aborted Phase II television series. I grew up reading Trek novels, which as far back as the 70's often included these linguistic abilities (which Nichols had spoken about at conventions and in interviews), and so I had always assumed it was part of her job from the outset. It wasn't until I joined Trek BBS that I learned otherwise. The closest she comes to translating anything in TOS is decoding a Romulan transmission.
So, I guess since this added-on talent was never shown canonically (until the reboot), her not knowing Klingon is valid.
I don't actually dislike STVI. I think its an okay movie, and when watching it I take it on it's own terms rather than trying to fit it perfectly with the rest of the Trekverse. But I do think a little bit of rewriting could have helped a lot without changing the film itself much - the Klingons talking in an obscure dialect Uhura doesn't know, or asking for authorization codes, McCoy encountering some complication he couldn't help without his sickbay (and the Klingons of course refuse to let them take Gorkon), the mind meld de-sexualized, some handwave explaination of Kirk's sudden racism (like, say, Peter's ship is ambushed and he's killed leaving Kirk with no family at all) etc.