My gripes with Asian casting and character naming in Paramount+ Trek

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Strange New Worlds' started by Enterprise1701, Jan 2, 2023.

  1. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    If you mean in Star Trek, there have been a couple of recent episodes of Discovery and Prodigy implying that people were speaking native languages translated to English, but before then, there have been plenty of Trek episodes and movies stating explicitly that the characters were speaking English.

    Realistically, it would be nonsensical for a starship crew to be dependent on computer translation to understand each other. One of the most important parts of training for serving on a starship crew would have to be learning the skills to do things yourself when the tech breaks down. Depending entirely on the tech with no backup plan would be incredibly foolish. And with three or four years spent in Starfleet Academy, that's plenty of time to learn at least one common language.
     
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  2. Laura Cynthia Chambers

    Laura Cynthia Chambers Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I suppose after a certain length of time has gone by, you might (because the computer's default setting is "translate if not English") speak your own/preferred language on duty because nobody reminds you to speak so they can understand (unless you're speaking technobabble and they want it plain).

    You might also often expose yourself to/speak your own/preferred language off-duty in the form of correspondence, entertainment, conversations with others who speak it, etc.

    If the translation programs haven't gone off-line in a while, you have been speaking your own/preferred language uninterruptedly for some time, always having a computer nearby to translate when you do. So when it goes offline, you need a moment to adjust, but eventually, you switch to English or rely on the translation of another, if necessary.
     
  3. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Even so, that doesn't mean they'd forget how to speak English if they had to. Ideally, you hope you never need your emergency training, but you still need to have it. Starfleet officers no doubt perform regular drills of their emergency skills to stay in training, and that would realistically include regularly practicing the Starfleet common language in case of translator failure.


    I don't buy that. In real life, fluently bilingual people can switch between languages on a dime. They don't need "a moment to adjust" -- it's between one sentence and the next, one word and the next.
     
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  4. Laura Cynthia Chambers

    Laura Cynthia Chambers Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Not everyone would be as fluent in their second language as their first - for various reasons.
     
  5. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk A Spock and a smile Premium Member

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    Tower of Babel is a fun trope.
     
  6. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    They don't have to be. They just have to know enough to be able to communicate with their crewmates without requiring on machine translation. As I said, it's logical that there would be regular training in that, as with any other emergency procedure, and people would just have to be fluent in the aspects of the language relevant to their job.

    Really, the idea that machine translation would be a perfect replacement for actually learning the language is as absurd as the idea that AI can replace screenwriters. At best, even translation done by humans is imperfect, since there are always conceptual differences that can't be literally translated from one language to another. So it's always going to be better to actually learn the language. Machine translation should just be an aid until you can do it yourself, not an excuse to be lazy and not even try to learn.
     
  7. Laura Cynthia Chambers

    Laura Cynthia Chambers Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Certainly, you ought to apply yourself to learn whatever necessary (to your life/career) skills you're capable of learning, rather than always wielding a shortcut device when circumstances don't call for it.
     
  8. KamenRiderBlade

    KamenRiderBlade Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It also helps that English is statistically dominant in many important ways:

    In the Most Spoken Languages Stats counting __ language as their Primary / Secondary Language:
    1) English has 1.452 Billion Speakers
    2) Mandarin has 1.118 Billion Speakers
    3) Hindi has 602.2 Million Speakers
    4) Spanish has 548.3 Million Speakers
    5) French has 274.1 million
    6) Arabic has 274.0 million

    In the # of Countries that recognize __ language as an official language:
    1) English has 59 Countries that recognize it as a Official Language
    2) French has 29 Countries that recognize it as a Official Language
    3) Arabic has 22-25 Countries that recognize it as a Official Language
    4) Spanish has 20 Countries that recognize it as a Official Language
    5) Portuguese has 9-10 Countries that recognize it as a Official Language
    6) German has 6 Countries that recognize it as a Official Language

    That's a Hollywood specific problem.

    They have issues with casting Asian Actors/Actresses for __ reasons

    I've literally only met 1 person IRL that was White with a Chinese Last name.

    My buddy married a Chinese gal and took her families last name so that their family name would live on.

    His wife & in-laws was REALLY happy that their chinese family name lived on to the next generation.

    "Truer words were never spoken."

    The Expanse did "Diversity" FAR better IMO.
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2023
  9. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Which is hopefully changing thanks to films like Crazy Rich Asians, Shang-Chi, and the near-Oscar-sweeping Everything Everywhere All at Once. And shows like Kung Fu and American Born Chinese.
     
  10. KamenRiderBlade

    KamenRiderBlade Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    We'll see if those have any impacts on Hollywood soon enough.

    I LOVE the various Accents.
    I wish the actors would've kept all their original accents instead of using a Neutral Californian accent.

    It's just changed in shape and form to be not as blatant and overt for the most part.
    Some exceptions still apply, but it's there in other forms.
     
  11. Serveaux

    Serveaux Fleet Admiral Premium Member

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    Quiet, you. You'll upset my smartphone. Andi needs to feel needed.
     
  12. KamenRiderBlade

    KamenRiderBlade Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Did you seriously name your smartphone Andi?
    And why Andi? Andi as in short for Android?
     
  13. USS Artorius

    USS Artorius Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Anthropomorphism is anathema to loneliness
     
  14. CorporalClegg

    CorporalClegg Admiral Admiral

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    :lol:
     
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  15. ReddishAlert

    ReddishAlert Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    That’s fine except the Federation isn’t all human. It simply isn’t possible that every species would have the physical attributes or even the perceptual hearing to communicate in English without a technological device of some kind.
     
  16. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Of course, but that obviously doesn't mean that species that can do so should depend entirely on computer translation with no fallback in case of tech failure. And even species that can't phonetically speak English could still learn to understand it. Han Solo and Chewbacca can understand each other despite being unable to pronounce each other's languages, so why shouldn't Trek characters be able to do the same?

    Also, when characters like that have been depicted -- e.g. the Phylosians in "The Infinite Vulcan" and the Horta Naraht in Diane Duane's novels and comics -- they've used vocoders, personal speech synthesizer/translators worn on their person. They didn't rely on the ship's computer to do it for them. So in the event that the shipwide system failed, they'd still have their own personal devices to communicate with. This is the point -- it is nonsensical to portray Starfleet crews operating without redundancy, without a backup plan in case the ship's main systems fail, as they so frequently do in fiction.
     
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  17. Laura Cynthia Chambers

    Laura Cynthia Chambers Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Okay, so suppose they always used backup systems/devices/protocols. What interesting stories could one derive from that? (Genuinely curious, not just rhetorically asking.)

    The choice not to have such systems operational/available is primarily a plot one. "Well, why don't they just ____?" "Because then they wouldn't ______."
     
  18. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    What you're describing here is a trope called the Idiot Ball. That's when your plot requires a character or characters to be stupider or less competent than usual in order for the story to work, so you hand them the Idiot Ball so that they play the role of idiot for the duration. This is not considered good writing. If the peril you have in mind requires your characters to carry the Idiot Ball in order for the story to work, then the story doesn't work and you need to come up with something better.

    The notion that you have to make an all-or-nothing choice between two elements, e.g. danger and credibility, is the excuse made by people who are unable or unwilling to do the work to find a reasonable balance between them. Good writing is about balancing different elements.

    Besides: Stories about smart, competent people who have the skills to cope with the unexpected are interesting and satisfying, especially to Star Trek fans, since ST has always been competence porn. Stories about incompetents who are helpless the moment their machines fail are just frustrating. The key is not to tell stories about people who are incapable of coping with the slightest setback -- the key is to make the characters more than able to cope with setbacks, but pile on bigger and bigger setbacks that challenge even their impressive coping mechanisms. As a writer, you have to challenge yourself to find ways to make things hard for smart characters, not make it easy for yourself by making your characters incompetent.
     
  19. Laura Cynthia Chambers

    Laura Cynthia Chambers Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It doesn't necessarily mean stupidity. It could simply mean that there's no physical way. Like something is not working because of previous, mentioned damage inflicted off-screen, or something being initially offline due to system maintenance that can't be interrupted.

    You can be taken off-guard without being completely helpless, but you then recover your equilibrium and proceed as if nothing is wrong.
     
  20. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    What? We're talking about being able to communicate without a universal translator. Of course there's a way to avoid it -- learn a common language during the four years at the Academy where the entire reason you're there is to learn new skills.


    Yes, that is exactly the kind of situation I'm talking about. I'm saying that in a plausible depiction of Starfleet, the personnel would be trained to do things for themselves when the technology fails. You learn a common language so you're not dependent on a working translator. You stay physically fit so you're not dependent on a working turbolift. You practice loading torpedoes manually so you're not dependent on a working auto-loader. And so on. It's just common sense.
     
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