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Old November 10 2012, 03:03 AM   #1
KamenRiderBlade
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So how does Starfleet manage to read alien text?

I get that the Universal Translator translates alien speech into English for the audience or whatever language is natural for the user.

How do they manage to read alien text?

It's not like they wore special contact lens, or glasses that have translators.

Half the time in TNG, DS9, VOY, they just manage to magically figure out what the alien text means.

For all the bad parts of ENT, they do make understanding Alien text realistic. They basically can't figure it out easily. Half the time it's poking buttons to figure what said button does.

How do you think our heroes figured out what alien text on touch screens mean?

I think Babylon 5: Crusade had a more realistic episode where the Archaeologist had trouble figuring out a alien captain's log IMO.
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Old November 10 2012, 03:19 AM   #2
C.E. Evans
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Re: So how does Starfleet manage to read alien text?

I think computers and tricorders help a lot.

On DS9, though, I got the sense that an understanding of basic Cardassian was handy for most of the Starfleet crew assigned there, IMO.
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Old November 10 2012, 12:59 PM   #3
The Wormhole
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Re: So how does Starfleet manage to read alien text?

The simple answer is that the Universal Translators do somehow translate text as well. Wibbly space magic.
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Old November 10 2012, 01:56 PM   #4
Merry Christmas
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Re: So how does Starfleet manage to read alien text?

^ Just that. It depends on where the UT is. Is it inside your combadge, or is it implanted inside your body somewhere, perhaps in your head (but not necessarily your brain).

You hear words, the UT translates and pumps the translation into your auditory nerves.

You see text, the UT translates and pumps the translation into your visual nerves.

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Old November 10 2012, 02:18 PM   #5
Mage
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Re: So how does Starfleet manage to read alien text?

I assumed that on DS9, first thing they did was install a translation program that automatically translates texts to the user's own language. Meaning, when you log in to a certain console, it autimatically brings up all texts in the language specified by the user, either Federation standard or their own language.

As for alien consoles on derelict ships and such.... no idea. Sometimes the writers are smart enough to have the crew looking at tricorders interfacing with alien consoles, with the tricorders translating the text.
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Old November 11 2012, 03:33 AM   #6
Arpy
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Re: So how does Starfleet manage to read alien text?

The Wormhole wrote: View Post
The simple answer is that the Universal Translators do somehow translate text as well. Wibbly space magic.
You would think that, being geek to the core, my mind would flash to this upon seeing a word I did not recognize. But in fact it went to this.
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Old November 11 2012, 11:08 PM   #7
Dantheman
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Re: So how does Starfleet manage to read alien text?

This topic makes me think of the VOY episode "The Chute", where Kim and Paris are in an alien prison, and a prisoner has Kim read his manifesto.

I always wondered how Harry Kim was able to read it, since it would probably be in an alien language, and in a Delta Quadrant one at that, where Federation technology probably wouldn't be able to translate it for him.
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Old November 12 2012, 02:01 AM   #8
The Wormhole
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Re: So how does Starfleet manage to read alien text?

Dantheman wrote: View Post
This topic makes me think of the VOY episode "The Chute", where Kim and Paris are in an alien prison, and a prisoner has Kim read his manifesto.

I always wondered how Harry Kim was able to read it, since it would probably be in an alien language, and in a Delta Quadrant one at that, where Federation technology probably wouldn't be able to translate it for him.
Meh, they all understood each other when the talked to each other, so Wibbly Space Magic allows Harry to read the language too. Best not to think about it.

This thread is reminding me of someone's nitpick when Enterprise's In a Mirror, Darkly aired. The nitpick was how could the crew figure out instantly how to operate a Constitution class ship from 100 years in the future. The immediate response someone made was "same way they can figure out instantly how to operate an alien ship from a race they haven't enountered before."
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Old November 12 2012, 04:48 AM   #9
hayesc0
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Re: So how does Starfleet manage to read alien text?

they use google
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Old November 12 2012, 06:46 AM   #10
Gary7
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Re: So how does Starfleet manage to read alien text?

In about a decade or so, people will have memory enhancement chips installed. It'll be the preliminary to "cyborg" technology. Numerous studies have shown that human memory is quite fallible. In fact, each time you recall a memory, you inadvertently change qualities about it. This is attributed to different contexts when recalling the memory (your location, your mood, your life perspective, people you're with, etc).

But imagine if you have a memory recorded onto a chip, whereas you recall the memory (with some training) from that chip and find it to be the same details each time... because it's "read only" memory. Pretty remarkable... changes the whole ball game with human memory.

Why did I travel down this rabbit hole? Because I'll bet anything that in the Star Trek universe beyond TOS, the UT is installed in people and interfaced directly in their minds. It's the same principle as the hardware memory augment that's soon coming. So, by the same principle, not only can they hear and understand foreign languages (in the UT library), they can read foreign writings too.
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Old November 12 2012, 01:07 PM   #11
Merry Christmas
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Re: So how does Starfleet manage to read alien text?

Gary7 wrote: View Post
people will have memory enhancement chips installed
Oh, hell no !!!!


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Old November 13 2012, 12:25 AM   #12
Arpy
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Re: So how does Starfleet manage to read alien text?

How would you feel if you could recall every detail of every achingly painful moment of your life? Sure you could remember the good moments too, but I think we endure more moments in life than exalt in...our bodies and psyches forever scarring over and forgetting the pain and the tedium. (EDIT:...Then again, is it tedium just having an ok day without any memorable jumps for joy or is it cynical to think that if you're not leaping about like a high hippie you're not happy?)

At the same time, maybe we'd learn more from the past if its lessons were immediately available. Perhaps some of our actions would be more cautious, not wanting or needing to repeat old mistakes, but perhaps they'd also more informed and leading to greater breadth of experience.

Also curious would be "memory junkies" who live in the past...those who keep "taking hits" from good old times and those who implode, forever stuck in old nightmares.

Regardless: I'll take a memory chip. I'll just have to learn to use it wisely.
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Old November 13 2012, 02:32 PM   #13
BillJ
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Re: So how does Starfleet manage to read alien text?

Arpy wrote: View Post

Regardless: I'll take a memory chip. I'll just have to learn to use it wisely.
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