Why aren't they using the Universal Translator at all in that dictionary scene in TUC ?

Discussion in 'Star Trek Movies I-X' started by at Quark's, Apr 15, 2017.

  1. Kor

    Kor Admiral Admiral

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    Unless Kirk was supposed to have been going majorly senile at that point in his life, this part of the script makes me suspect that some fan just did a Ctrl-F and replaced Valeris's name with Saavik everywhere:
    :wtf:

    Kor
     
  2. Paul Weaver

    Paul Weaver Commodore Premium Member

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    What amazes me is that Spock wasn't top of his class
     
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  3. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    ...Did Spock even study at the Academy? He might have been overqualified for the job from day minus-one already, just signing the papers turning him from a civilian to an Ensign (or a Lieutenant Commander for all we know).

    I mean, yeah, Spock knows what a dunsel is. But an instructor would know that, too. Perhaps Spock was an officer in the Vulcan military at the time he cemented his decision to elope to Humanland.

    Yup, weird. And I guess you got it on one.

    Although of course they would have to reintroduce Saavik to the ignorant audience somehow. And her ever-changing face would give Kirk a run for his non-money...

    Timo Saloniemi
     
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  4. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    And it didn't hurt that we couldn't actually see the translator's face (he and his crew were in a darkened booth) so those who chose to believe it was Klaa were free to do so.
     
  5. Vger23

    Vger23 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I'm sorry all, but I'm going to have to throw the BS flag on y'all.

    First and foremost, plot point of the "sabotaged translator" in the TUC novelization is in the same category as the plot point of "Sybok's shield equations" in the TFF novelization by the same author. It was a smart attempt by the novelist to clean up a foolish plot point in the script. There is absolutely no evidence that this was, as originally claimed, a filmed sequence that was cut from the movie's final version. In fact, Chekov's comment goes against that plot point when you hear him say "we must respond personally, because the translator will be recognized..." when the novelization makes it clear that the translator has literally been sabotaged and is producing garbled results.

    Second, it IS particularly relevant, Timo...quite simply because one thing actually happened and the other did not. To me, that's pretty darned relevant. The novelization doesn't depict what happened, nor does any "cut scene," real or imagined. The fact of the matter is that the official TUC film dictates a situation that makes no sense and is played for humor. Nothing wrong with that, but let's not make it anything more than it is.

    There's a big difference between fanwankery to fill in ridiculous plot holes (which this is...and there's nothing wrong with that) and what actually happens on screen.

    Quite honestly, I thought Dillard did some nice expansion / improvements on the stories of TFF and TUC that would have made those films stronger (unlike McIntyre who drove me batcrap crazy with her novelizations).
     
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  6. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I was distracted by how obvious it seemed that Chekov's line was overdubbed. I figured there had to be a reason why they did that.
     
  7. Vger23

    Vger23 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I think the overdub was done for the same reason the plot point of the sabotaged translator was added to the novelization: to make the dictionary scene at least somewhat less foolish!
     
  8. WarpFactorZ

    WarpFactorZ Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Probably. But it could be easily fixed up:

    The dialog about graduating at the top of her class is perfectly reasonable, since by STIV had not completed SF academy (at least I don't think this was every established). One can assume she went back (or was sent back) following Kirk's trial.

    Also, concerning the "deleted UT databanks" debate, the following line (slightly altered) makes much more sense (bold font my addition):

     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2017
  9. Vger23

    Vger23 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    That's actually pretty close to how the dialogue is written in the novelization.
     
  10. TheAdmiralty

    TheAdmiralty Commander Red Shirt

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    Meyer just didn't care much about continuity like that. Nichols pointed out that Uhura likely would have known Klingon and he told her just to do the scene as it was anyway.
     
  11. JonnyQuest037

    JonnyQuest037 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Yes, but at that point in the movie, Valeris hadn't yet been revealed as a traitor to the audience. So it's pretty unlikely that they would have filmed a scene showing her sabotaging the universal translator and then tried to play the scene in sickbay for suspense. If Valeris had been revealed as the traitor to the audience by that point, they would have scripted and staged the sickbay scene completely differently.
    The way I rationalize that line is that Valeris was the first Vulcan to graduate at the top of her class from Command School. Still a stretch, but not as egregious as believing that no Vulcan (including Spock) had graduated at the top of his/her class before that.
    Nope. No evidence whatsoever.
    Supposition is fine. Presenting your suppositions as facts without having any supporting evidence is not.
    In my mind Saavik graduated sometime between TWOK and TSFS. That explains why she goes from the red collar of a cadet to the white collar of a command officer. (I also believe that there's a gap of several weeks, if not months, between the two movies.)
     
  12. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Umm, what? You can't say "You are wrong, taxes are relevant" if I say "the Easter Bunny is irrelevant". Please stay to the actual topic being discussed.

    Sounds extremely unlikely. It's classic storytelling to show the villain performing villainy in such a way that the audience won't "get it" until later. And the script version explicitly shows how this would have been done (here as regards the torpedo firing tomfoolery): the villain does something nondescript, and at the Agatha Christie conclusion, there's a bona fide flashback to this, with the overlaid explanation "villainy was taking place, see?".

    The torpedo thing was scripted and staged exactly the way you consider unlikely, no way around that.

    Yet she already wears the symbols of a graduated officer in TWOK, to wit, the rank pin. And the red collar doesn't seem to be symbolic of anything much, just like the red uniforms of the 2009 movie told us essentially nothing about the status of the person wearing them.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  13. MadeIndescribable

    MadeIndescribable Fleet Captain Captain

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    Never thought about it this way, but it totally makes sense.

    Of course this still completely negates the very believable idea that as the communications officer aboard the Federation's flagship, surely Uhura should have enough grasp of the Klingon language to at bluff her way past a security checkpoint without having to (badly) resort to dictionaries and phrase books.

    At least that was Nichelle Nichols argument, which was shot down in flames for the sake of comedy...
     
  14. Paul Weaver

    Paul Weaver Commodore Premium Member

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    More respect due to Nichelle Nichols :bolian:
     
  15. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    This appears to artificially bloat the importance of the heroes. No, their ship isn't the flagship of anything. No, they aren't the best-ever team of starfarers in Federation history. No, Uhura in this timeline is not a skilled linguist.

    Or at least none of the above three claims was ever made by any Star Trek character as such (a certain thoroughly dishonest pep talk in "Immunity Syndrome" notwithstanding, of course).

    Whether Uhura should know Klingon is a somewhat separate argument. Supposedly, few USN radio operators in the Cold War knew Russian. A couple might have known enough to fake their way through a brief exchange such as in this movie without the help of dictionaries. Uhura just needn't be one of those with analogous competence. (Although Starfleet probably should have given Kirk a specialist for this particular mission. Then again, Kirk was sent to fail.)

    The scene is fine in that sense. The fundamental justification for the use of bound books and the like is still missing from the final product, though. And the excuse given, "they'd recognize the UT", provides no explanation to the use of books and appears to make no sense in itself, which is a pity. The comedy could have worked just fine with the "more futuristic language aids sabotaged" line.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  16. JonnyQuest037

    JonnyQuest037 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I wasn't talking about the torpedo scene. I was talking about the nonexistent scene Mr. Laser Beam was referring to, where Valeris was supposedly sabotaging the universal translator.
    Agree with you here. As far as TOS is concerned, the Enterprise is just another ship. I think they became a bit more notable due to the events under Kirk's command, but YMMV. TNG's "The Naked Now" presented Kirk as either a footnote in Federation/Starfleet history, or just another Captain, judging from the way Picard tossed off the mention of Kirk's name.
    Hmm. I'm not sure if I go along with this one. Uhura being a linguist doesn't really alter much of anything in TOS or the movies besides that one scene in TUC. She certainly showed a general curiosity about languages as far as I can remember. But I suppose that could be more fanon than anything, like Spock being the first Vulcan in Starfleet.

    I suppose Prime Uhura's skills could be more on the technical side than the languages side. That would certainly jibe with her repairing her own console (and Spock saying she was the most qualified to do so), occasionally taking over navigation, and taking a posting at a transporter station in STIII. And she could still do cool stuff that way, like codebreaking. She certainly had a strong aptitude in the sciences, from what we saw on the show.
     
  17. MadeIndescribable

    MadeIndescribable Fleet Captain Captain

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    Pretty sure there's a TOS episode which establishes her mother tongue as Swahili (or that she at least speaks it fluently as a secomd language...?

    Either way being bilingual is pretty skilled.
     
  18. at Quark's

    at Quark's Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    ^that depends upon the exact norm for 'bilingual' I suppose, but there are lots of countries where most inhabitants are fluent in two or even more languages.
     
  19. MadeIndescribable

    MadeIndescribable Fleet Captain Captain

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    Fair enough, you're right. It's the 1701-D in TNG which is described as the flagship, I just presumed the honour with the lineage.

    I can see your argument, but I don't agree that Cold War radio operators are analagous to Starfleet officers. In the 22nd Century, wouldn't Uhura have joined Starfleet for its merits of exploration and first contact scenarios, rather than its militaristic stance, and would be more open minded to alien languages and dialects?

    Normal or not, it's still pretty impressive.
     
  20. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Quite so; I'm just saying the handling of the UT sabotage could and no doubt would have been identical. "Series of flashbacks" should work just as well as a single flashback.

    Then again, TUC exists; scenes with Uhura translating or studying language do not exist, save for "The message can't be deciphered by pressing any of these standard buttons, Sir".

    The thing is, Star Trek didn't feature "languages" much, not until Marc Okrand. Since Spock is amazed by the one set of aliens speaking English in "Bread and Circuses", but not by all the other sets in all the other episodes (say, "Patterns of Force"!) doing the same, we're left confused as to the role of languages in TOS, but besides Spock, Uhura in "Man Trap" is indeed the only other one to even acknowledge the existence of languages.

    ...Apart from Khan, who when waking up confirms that our heroes themselves speak English, or at least that their UTs spit out English at each other and to people feigning unconsciousness. So Swahili ought to stand out in that environment.

    Bilingual doesn't appear impressive in an oppressive environment. That is, a high percentage of the global workforce today has to know English in addition to his or her native tongue; Starfleet doesn't appear any more flexible there than the worst supercorps of today, although the UT may make adoption of the mandatory employer's language easier.

    Trilingual might be more of a feat, but even that depends on the environment. I absolutely have to be trilingual, as my native city is bilingual to start with, and neither of those languages is English (or Russian; I really ought to be quadrilingual, but no can do; I don't actually have a head for languages). But since Trek tends to be about monobloc cultures, Earth included, bilingual is probably the worst they have to contend with...

    Only if Uhura was interested in languages in the first place. Joining for the excitement of welding ansibles is a valid excuse, too. And what's militaristic about that? Is Sulu a fighting fanatic for wanting to steer? Scotty a warrior for wanting to go fast and steady? None of them displayed any outstanding interest in exploring or first contact, and none of them shunned away from it, either.

    I'd have expected the TOS team to have some sort of a contact specialist separate from all the established cast, but none popped up in the adventures. Historians, anthropologists, but no contact people. And no linguists. Perhaps those only get their shot at it after the "utility team" of leaders, natural scientists, engineers and soldiers has completed the intial rounds of assessments?

    Timo Saloniemi