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Old May 13 2010, 06:12 PM   #1
Garak007
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Universal Translator likes suspense lol

We all know the Universal Translator is there to translate different alien languages to the person who is receiving the speech or even to the viewer. What I don't understand sometimes during a transmission we have a lack of translation. Good example of this is during the episode of Way of the Warrior. We have Gowron and General Martok talking a mix of English and Klingon. Yet in Star Trek 6 Chang was talking with his fellow Klingons in Klingon on Bird of Prey all the time and we have the translation done in subtitles which makes more sense.

I know this has happened more than one occasion but this is about the best example I can find. Aliens should always be talking in their native language unless there is a human around to translate it in my view. Unless it it's done for the suspense value
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Old May 13 2010, 08:26 PM   #2
sbk1234
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Re: Universal Translator likes suspense lol

The same could be said for any World War II movie where the Germans are shown speaking English with a German accent.
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Old May 13 2010, 08:58 PM   #3
Garak007
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Re: Universal Translator likes suspense lol

sbk1234 wrote: View Post
The same could be said for any World War II movie where the Germans are shown speaking English with a German accent.
Well that is not really the same thing because they are not mixing up an alien language with an Earth language might also be a German was talking English to an English person. He would not do the same to a fellow German in World War II unless it was for a reason.

Why would a Klingon talk an Earth language with a fellow Klingon makes no sense.
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Old May 13 2010, 09:13 PM   #4
RegFan
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Re: Universal Translator likes suspense lol

Garak007 wrote: View Post
Aliens should always be talking in their native language unless there is a human around to translate it in my view. Unless it it's done for the suspense value
I agree, as that would be more realistic.

I like to think that when there are no humans around, the aliens are actually talking in their native language and their speech is translated for the benefit of the audience. As for why they sometimes talk in a mixture of English and and their native language, perhaps the universal translator is some kind of brain implant and they can decide whether or not their speech is translated.
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Old May 13 2010, 09:19 PM   #5
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Re: Universal Translator likes suspense lol

Garak007 wrote: View Post
Good example of this is during the episode of Way of the Warrior. We have Gowron and General Martok talking a mix of English and Klingon.
Maybe Gowron turned it off the UT at that moment. For a laugh or something.
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Old May 13 2010, 09:21 PM   #6
THE_FETT
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Re: Universal Translator likes suspense lol

The UT is just a ridiculous way of trying to explain something that doesn't need explained. Everyone speaks English for the sake of the audience and they should've just never even addressed why. I always liked when someone like Worf would say something like, "I must now endure the k'th p'tawng!" and then he would translate it himself, "The pain ritual" like the UT refuses to translate certain phrases.
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Old May 13 2010, 10:06 PM   #7
Garak007
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Re: Universal Translator likes suspense lol

THE_FETT wrote: View Post
The UT is just a ridiculous way of trying to explain something that doesn't need explained. Everyone speaks English for the sake of the audience and they should've just never even addressed why. I always liked when someone like Worf would say something like, "I must now endure the k'th p'tawng!" and then he would translate it himself, "The pain ritual" like the UT refuses to translate certain phrases.
Indeed, in Way of the Warrior again even through the view screen Worf had to transulate a saying when Gowron said "perhaps today is a good day to die" and yet there was no problem for the rest of the converstation.
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Old May 14 2010, 12:50 AM   #8
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Re: Universal Translator likes suspense lol

THE_FETT wrote: View Post
The UT is just a ridiculous way of trying to explain something that doesn't need explained. Everyone speaks English for the sake of the audience and they should've just never even addressed why. I always liked when someone like Worf would say something like, "I must now endure the k'th p'tawng!" and then he would translate it himself, "The pain ritual" like the UT refuses to translate certain phrases.
Actually that's one of the few things about the UT that make sense. Realistically, it shouldn't be working half as good as it does in the show. And some words, phrases and idioms would just not be in its dictionary database, so it would leave them untranslated. You know, just like Google or Babelfish translates a text and it looks like this:

"The Spanish began with little luck the day, because the first party was posponed due to an intense rain that fell right to the hour programmed for the encounter, after receso naturañ, the players appeared in the field, where after 90 minutes of action, the Israeli undid of his Iberian."


Of course, the UP is supposed to translate much better, but you get my meaning.
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Old May 14 2010, 03:24 AM   #9
THE_FETT
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Re: Universal Translator likes suspense lol

DevilEyes wrote: View Post
THE_FETT wrote: View Post
The UT is just a ridiculous way of trying to explain something that doesn't need explained. Everyone speaks English for the sake of the audience and they should've just never even addressed why. I always liked when someone like Worf would say something like, "I must now endure the k'th p'tawng!" and then he would translate it himself, "The pain ritual" like the UT refuses to translate certain phrases.
Actually that's one of the few things about the UT that make sense.
It makes sense that a sophisticated program that can translate millions of languages by using brain wave patterns and syntax morphologies can't translate "ritual of pain" but Worf can? Please.

Realistically, it shouldn't be working half as good as it does in the show.
Wait; did you just say "realistically" about a totally fictional device that no one can possibly know how it would actually work in any way, shape or form?
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Old May 14 2010, 03:46 AM   #10
The Wormhole
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Re: Universal Translator likes suspense lol

One of my favourite "magical translations" was the Enterprise episode Carbon Creek. A Vulcan crew in the 1950s is at Earth studying Sputnik. But they crash in the US and somehow can speak perfect English right away. How is this possible? Since they were studying a Soviet satellite the only Earth language these Vulcans should have picked up is Russian.

At the very least, showing the Vulcans walking into an American towm in the 50s speaking Russian would have made the episode a lot more interesting than it was.
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Old May 14 2010, 03:59 AM   #11
T'Girl
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Re: Universal Translator likes suspense lol

RegFan wrote: View Post
As for why they sometimes talk in a mixture of English and and their native language ...
Where one word in a language directly translates into a single word in another the universal translator does great. I think the UT continues to have problems where a word translates into one of multiple words depending on the intent of the speaker or where a word refers to a concept.

Perhaps the translator emits a musical tone in your head if you use a word that refers to a concept and the UT would have to give the listener a five minute explanation as to what the word means.

And what if the the race of the person to whom your speaking to completely lacks the words in their language that corresponds to the words you're using? It's possible that modern Vulcan lacks all but the most basic words that refer to emotions, they just don't need them.

"So I (emotional reference) (emotional reference) (emotional reference) (emotional reference), and then she (emotional reference) (emotional reference) (emotional reference), you have knowledge of my meaning?"
The Vulcan slowly lifts her eyebrow.

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Old May 14 2010, 01:18 PM   #12
DevilEyes
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Re: Universal Translator likes suspense lol

THE_FETT wrote: View Post
DevilEyes wrote: View Post
THE_FETT wrote: View Post
The UT is just a ridiculous way of trying to explain something that doesn't need explained. Everyone speaks English for the sake of the audience and they should've just never even addressed why. I always liked when someone like Worf would say something like, "I must now endure the k'th p'tawng!" and then he would translate it himself, "The pain ritual" like the UT refuses to translate certain phrases.
Actually that's one of the few things about the UT that make sense.
It makes sense that a sophisticated program that can translate millions of languages by using brain wave patterns and syntax morphologies can't translate "ritual of pain" but Worf can? Please.
It makes sense that it wouldn't be able to translate millions of languages half as good as it does.

Realistically, it shouldn't be working half as good as it does in the show.
Wait; did you just say "realistically" about a totally fictional device that no one can possibly know how it would actually work in any way, shape or form?
Yes, I did say "realistically". You know, realism in fiction? Ever heard of the concept?

T'Girl wrote: View Post
RegFan wrote: View Post
As for why they sometimes talk in a mixture of English and and their native language ...
Where one word in a language directly translates into a single word in another the universal translator does great. I think the UT continues to have problems where a word translates into one of multiple words depending on the intent of the speaker or where a word refers to a concept.

Perhaps the translator emits a musical tone in your head if you use a word that refers to a concept and the UT would have to give the listener a five minute explanation as to what the word means.

And what if the the race of the person to whom your speaking to completely lacks the words in their language that corresponds to the words you're using? It's possible that modern Vulcan lacks all but the most basic words that refer to emotions, they just don't need them.

"So I (emotional reference) (emotional reference) (emotional reference) (emotional reference), and then she (emotional reference) (emotional reference) (emotional reference), you have knowledge of my meaning?"
The Vulcan slowly lifts her eyebrow.

Yes, that's how it would realistically work.

Unless one thinks that realism has no place in fiction, and science fiction should feature magic. So why not have the UT always work perfectly, if it is a magical device...
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Old May 14 2010, 02:56 PM   #13
Pauln6
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Re: Universal Translator likes suspense lol

At least Trek pays lip service to the idea. While I agree that B5 dealt with the issue a bit better (although aliens when together have their native tongue translated for the viewer) Stargate 'forgot' that aliens don't all speak English.
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Old May 14 2010, 03:04 PM   #14
The Wormhole
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Re: Universal Translator likes suspense lol

Pauln6 wrote: View Post
Stargate 'forgot' that aliens don't all speak English.
Stargate is very inconsistent with alien languages. Actor Michael Shanks even pointed out on a DVD commentary about the Goa'uld and Jaffa speak exclusively English when among each other, but when around humans they toss in words from their own language.

Then there's the Wraith who don't even seem to have their own spoken language.

Now they're trying to be logical and not have the Somberoids on SGU speak at all, having them communicate telepathically instead.
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Old May 14 2010, 03:15 PM   #15
Pauln6
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Re: Universal Translator likes suspense lol

The Wormhole wrote: View Post
Pauln6 wrote: View Post
Stargate 'forgot' that aliens don't all speak English.
Stargate is very inconsistent with alien languages. Actor Michael Shanks even pointed out on a DVD commentary about the Goa'uld and Jaffa speak exclusively English when among each other, but when around humans they toss in words from their own language.

Then there's the Wraith who don't even seem to have their own spoken language.

Now they're trying to be logical and not have the Somberoids on SGU speak at all, having them communicate telepathically instead.
I've been so impressed with the attention to detail on SGU - it's such a shame that so many people can't cope with the slower pace. The human(oid)-centric approach of Star Trek gets very boring. Among my favourite aliens are the Vorlons, Shadows, Taelons (season one obviously), pak'mar'a, and the creatures in Aliens.
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