Questions tagged [universal-translator]

The Universal Translator is a device used in Star Trek to translate all languages. Rather than being a store of languages, it analyses thought patterns to translate languages.

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In Star Trek, are the humans actually all speaking English?

So, in Star Trek, across much of the franchise, but especially in the 24th century, we are to understand that the problem of human-alien communication is solved by universal translator - a device ...
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22 votes
4 answers
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In "Pen Pals", how did Data understand Sarjenka's transmission?

In the Star Trek: TNG episode "Pen Pals", Data receives a short transmission from a single individual in an unknown civilization asking, "Is anybody out there?" Data is able to ...
11 votes
1 answer
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Short story where a translation box is used to avert a war between two alien species

This short story appeared in an anthology sometime before 1990 (estimated). The human protagonist lives in a small outpost on an alien world, and operates the local general store. He is approached by ...
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5 votes
1 answer
355 views

How do they hear incoming transmissions through their communicator?

I was wondering how people in Star Trek hear the incoming transmissions. I thought they used speakers located in the rooms and corridors of space ships, but they also work outside. Does the sound come ...
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11 votes
2 answers
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Why didn’t the Universal Translator work in at least one direction in Star Trek VI?

In The Undiscovered Country, why do they need all those books when you can clearly see the universal translator on the screen in the background, translating the incoming Klingon transmission into ...
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4 votes
1 answer
605 views

Why wasn't Gowron's phrase translated? [duplicate]

In the 4th season's premiere, the Way of the Warrior, Gowron utters the Klingon phrase which Benjamin Sisko had to ask Worf to be translated first - why didn't the Universal Translator do its work? ...
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8 votes
1 answer
439 views

Does the Universal Translator also translate controls and control panels?

In the series 7 episode of Star Trek: Voyager, "Nightingale", Ensign Kim repairs and takes control of a Kraylor ship. I'm curious at the ease at which Kim fixes the warp matrix using the control ...
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17 votes
1 answer
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Are there any human Star Trek characters who have native languages other than English/Federation Standard?

Leaving aside the question of what languages people are actually speaking, are there any humans who are confirmed (in a show or in novels) to have a first language was not English or Federation ...
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8 votes
2 answers
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How can there be different languages with universal translators?

I've not watched every episode of Star Trek or read every book, but I was wondering why there are still different languages amongst different species, groups, etc ? For example, if a group of people ...
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11 votes
4 answers
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Universal Translator: Sometimes working instantly, sometimes not at all?

During the different franchise series (excluding ENT) there are only very few encounters with new or unknown species the crews of the ships don't understand. Most often even the most alien species ...
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68 votes
6 answers
13k views

If there are universal translators, why are some words/phrases not translated?

In Star Trek, there are universal translators on the ship to make communications between the different species possible. But there are countless times when Klingons talk in Klingon and English, when ...
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