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This isn't the case with everyone, but you'll see in a few cases, such as with Captain Georgiou (or Emperess Georgiou) in Star Trek: Discovery, that accents are clearly audible. This is a very closely related question, in which I asked why Chekov spoke English in ST: 2009 with such a heavy accent, instead of just speaking Russian.

If people are uncomfortable with other languages, why can't they speak in their native languages and let the Universal Translator translate for them? And if they are speaking their native tongue, why does the UT create an accent?

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  • I remember in one of the movies they mention they need to actually speak in Klingon, because the UT sounds robotic, or distinctive as a UT in some way, and they are trying to be sneaky. I think it was the movie with Captain Sulu on the Excelssior. – Daishozen Aug 24 '20 at 15:54
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In TOS: Metamorphosis Kirk explains that:

(...) there were certain universal ideas and concepts common to all intelligent life, and that the translator compared the frequencies of brain wave patterns, selected those ideas it recognized, and provided the necessary grammar. Kirk further explained that the device spoke with a voice, or the approximation of one, that corresponded to the identity concepts it recognized.

This can be used to infer that for the speaker being translated, his... ethnic (for the lack of better word) identity is important, so UT stresses that trait by using accent.

*After MemoryAlpha's UT entry

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