At the end of DS9 season 7 episode 4, Take Me Out to the Holosuite, Sisko throws his baseball into the air, and the camera lingers on it. I assume this is a reference to some movie.

Picture below.

My question is: we can see the names of the characters, signed in English. Yet we know that on DS9 the Universal Translator is in constant use. We also usually see non-humans reading things in their native language. So why wouldn't the ball be signed with each character's native language? Quark's name should be written in Ferengi, Worf in Klingon, Kira in Bajoran, etc.

Is there any canon explanation for this?

Sisko's signed ball from Take Me Out To The Holosuite

  • 11
    Worf in Klingon He was mostly raised by humans. He would almost certainly know 'universal' or English.
    – Zoredache
    Commented Oct 20, 2016 at 19:36
  • 5
    The translator translated the written text for the Terran.English.2000 viewer Commented Oct 20, 2016 at 19:36
  • 8
    Given that the ball was intended as a present and given the trivial ease with which one could bring up a translation of your name on a nearby monitor, I see no good reason why the signatures wouldn't be in English, given that they were intended for consumption by an English reader.
    – Valorum
    Commented Oct 20, 2016 at 20:07
  • 10
    Quark has obviously followed rule of acquisition #194 - "It’s always good business to know about new customers before they walk in the door." and learned to write some English.
    – Valorum
    Commented Oct 20, 2016 at 20:13
  • 3
    Out of universe: because you would have signatures from Bashir, Jake, Worf (mayber) and Cassidy and "squiggles" from Kira, Quark, etc. and the audience wouldn't know who was who-it would ruin the moment. In Universe: They were playing a human game for Sisko's ego, learning to write one's name in English is a small concession at that point. Now, where did they get a sharpie?
    – geewhiz
    Commented Jan 8, 2017 at 14:59

2 Answers 2


They wrote their names in English (or "Federation Standard"*), because if they hadn't, Sisko wouldn't have been able to read it.

I have personally been in the situation of being asked, while in a non-English speaking country, to write a note or card to a local. I got a local friend to help me write in the local script. Likewise I've had foreign friends ask me to check their cursive English handwriting on a birthday card to make sure it is readable. It's just a nice gesture. Even if the DS9 crew aren't fluent in "Federation Standard", the fact that they tried makes it an even more meaningful gift to Sisko. It certainly makes sense for Kira her to try and make her name readable as a token of respect to the Emissary.

Another possibility is that Kira/Quark (and Odo?) had someone write their names for them. This might explain the ears on Quark's name as someone's attempt to be cute.

Worf should definitely be fluent in Earth handwriting.

Regarding "Yet we know that on DS9 the Universal Translator is in constant use", well that may be true but we that's also a contrived plot device. The popular idea among fans that everyone is really speaking their own language all the time and we just hear English isn't backed up by evidence, as pointed out in the accepted answer to this question (despite some episodes seeming to contradict it). We only need assume it's working on aliens that obviously couldn't be speaking English. No need to extend the plot device any further.

*Federation Standard is a non-canon stand-in for English, but we can choose to incorporate this information from Memory-Beta (referencing various EU novels) as evidence that there is a common Federation language with a script people would be familiar with.

When the Republic of Bajor joined the Federation in the year 2376, many signs and directories located throughout the planet were altered to include both Bajoran and Standard directions.


Well, Quark is certainly not totally English (the odd "Q" and the "3" for a "u"), and the very first signature on the leading, left edge as it rotates out of sight is certainly not English. :)

As for Bashir using Arabic. I don't think so. this is a few hundred years in the future. The Earth is unified. Therefore it stands reason that All humans would speak one common language (and perhaps still retain original native languages). It makes sense that English would be that common language, given we are already moving in that direction today.

  • 2
    Can you provide a canon explanation as for whether Quarks name is Ferengi and if not why not? That is what the question is asking.
    – Edlothiad
    Commented Mar 6, 2018 at 7:16
  • 5
    'Q' and 'u' are not odd, it is simply a letter 'Q' with Ferengi ears. Commented Mar 6, 2018 at 8:35
  • 1
    It's not a "3" for the u. The u is there. The Q has two ears drawn over it.
    – Tim
    Commented Mar 6, 2018 at 18:51

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