How did people read Alien Languages / Interfaces?

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by KamenRiderBlade, Jan 4, 2019.

  1. KamenRiderBlade

    KamenRiderBlade Commander Red Shirt

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    The Universal Translator to my knowledge was audio only, for spoken languages.

    There was no UT for written language if I recall. How did the crew know what button to press and how alien UI even worked?

    Especially for aliens of the week that they have never met before?

    I have certain theories, but what do you think they used to translate written Alien Languages?
     
  2. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I'm not familiar with any reference for the UT being unable to translate written language.

    Sometimes it struggles with that, obviously. But sometimes it struggles with spoken language, too. And contrary evidence certainly abounds: Tom Paris is fluent in Kazon displays in "Investigations", say. And sometimes the UT built into our TV sets is at work, allowing us to read Klingon/Organian in "Errand of Mercy" or Blinkian in "Blink of an Eye" as if it were English.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  3. KennyB

    KennyB Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    Stuttgart, Germany USAG
    If my Google Translate app can do writing on my iPhone, I'm sure the UT can do it!
     
  4. KamenRiderBlade

    KamenRiderBlade Commander Red Shirt

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    But what if it's a brand new species with a language that you have never seen or heard before?
    How does it figure it out?
     
  5. Ronald Held

    Ronald Held Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Non Canon, but the UT can translate text.
     
  6. KamenRiderBlade

    KamenRiderBlade Commander Red Shirt

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    I know that, but how does it display that info to the user?

    And what if it's a brand new language that it has no new info on?
    How does it go about figuring it out?
     
  7. Ronald Held

    Ronald Held Vice Admiral Admiral

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    As an example, assume you are in an alien ship. You download data to your ships computer,which does the work of translating. Use that knowledge to translate alien displays into Standard.
     
  8. KamenRiderBlade

    KamenRiderBlade Commander Red Shirt

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    And if the Alien's Data isn't compatible with our data and we haven't figured it out?
     
  9. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    How does it display spoken word to the user? Obviously not through a mere loudspeaker (except in the very earliest stages of translation, in especially challenging cases, such as ST Beyond, where the baddie was probably deliberately making it extra difficult anyway), since we don't hear "doubletalk". And we even see lipsynch.

    So the obvious interpretation is that the UT implant ties directly into the brain, making the hero hear and see her own language. Our brains are easily fooled like that. Lipsynch and English print are just two sides of the same coin.

    It's a clever beast, is all. The ultimate cryptographer, working not just from what it sees or hears, but from a background database of eleventeen zillion known languages and other cues.

    Episodes like "Contagion" show that languages in the Trek Milky Way get affected by each other just like languages on Earth - while episodes like "The Chase" show that all the great minds think alike because all our brains are a vanity project for ancient humanoids. This must be a great relief for the UT.

    Timo Saloniemi