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It occurred to me recently that in the episode "The Doctor's Wife", it was remarkable that the people in that episode continued to understand each other's languages without difficulty even though the TARDIS was completely powered down.

I see two ways out of this problem:

  1. The TARDIS translation/telepathic circuits operate automatically and continuously, even if the TARDIS itself is powered down.
  2. House was providing his own translation for them -- plausible, since he clearly had telepathic control over his inhabitants and had encountered plenty of Time Lords before.

(2) is reasonable, but this can't be the first time (1) has been an issue. We know from "The Christmas Invasion" that the TARDIS translation circuits fail if the Doctor is out of commission. But are there any other instances where the TARDIS has been out of commission, but the translation circuits continued to work? (I assume the Doctor himself speaks English fluently.)

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In the classic Doctor Who story 'Masque of Mandragora', the fourth Doctor tells Sarah that translation is a 'Timelord Gift' that he 'allows her to share'. This could possibly suggest that at least some of the translating ability comes via the Doctor himself. This is not entirely unlikely, as we know that he has some telepathic abilities.

I'm more of a classic Who fan than of the new stuff, and certainly I've always understood that the power came from the Doctor himself, not from his TARDIS. It's probably worth mentioning that according to the Two Doctors, the Doctor has Symbiotic Nuclei with the TARDIS, so perhaps there's some biological link between the two.

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