Discussion in 'Star Trek: Enterprise' started by Silvio Dante, Jun 20, 2013.
Really true ... seems there weren't too many races out there who were genuinely friendly with each other until the human-dominated Federation came along to make everyone play nice.
It was enjoyable that in Enterprise it took a while for the translator to start working, though I imagine it should've taken a lot longer than it did, at which point I'm giving them a bit of a pass for dramatic license. It would be hard for the computer to translate 30 seconds of speech of a completely unknown language into English, without any context whatsoever - they could say "why are your eyebrows so bushy?" or "hello, we're the Xalaxians." Maybe the aliens know Vulcan already or the UT sends them messages in one of a dozen languages they do know already? If there's interstellar commerce then it's likely aliens have come up with a common language for commerce, much like Latin, French, and English have served on Earth.
I imagine that Picard and Dathon would disagree that those were the only exceptions, or that rare exceptions lasted for more than a few minutes.
Well, the handling of languages in ENT is actually one of the more believable concepts, even though it still takes some suspension of disbelief. My theory about Hoshi has several components:
1. Hoshi is a genius. We see as much in "Observer Effect" and when she decodes the Xindi weapons codes. As a numbers and crypto whizz, she's also a programming genius by default, which would explain the rapid progress of the UT. But even after a year (at the time of "Precious Cargo") the UT still needed some time to riddle out an alien language. I suppose they just left out this "adapting phase" in later episodes as it simply didn't add anything new. We'd seen it already.
2. My suspicion is, that Hoshi also has latent telepathic abilities. That would go a long way to explain Hoshi's ability to riddle out alien languages.
3. We still look at ENT from today's technological perspective. The UT might only be a small device, but for all we know, it could beat today's Super Computers my magnitudes. Think about it. Today's mobile phones have more processing power than PC's of 20 years ago. And the time of ENT is still 140 years away.
4. When you learn foreign languages, the more you learn, the easier it gets. If you know Russian for instance, you unterstand Polish, Ukrainian, Bulgarian, Serbian and other slavic languages fairly well. Of course not everything, but you get the gist of most of what is said.
If we are to be believe TNG, all humanoid races developed from a proto-humanoid race, so there are connections even between wildly different languages.
All in all I think that the language concept in ENT was handled fairly believable.
I would say Hoshi's translating skills may be little bit stretched in "real life" terms but absolutely believable within the Star Trek context where characters often display exceptional abilities. Like you said she's a rare genius in that department.
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