Trekkers Only! : Aliens always understand English?

Aliens always understand English?

In the Original Star Trek series, or perhaps the later series, is it ever explained why aliens always understand earthlings? Do they have translator devices (not seen or mentioned)?

Or is it due to the obvious difficulty of subtitles and languages?

Re: Aliens always understand English?


In the Original Star Trek series, or perhaps the later series, is it ever explained why aliens always understand earthlings? Do they have translator devices (not seen or mentioned)?

Or is it due to the obvious difficulty of subtitles and languages?


Technically, they are not actually speaking English, but are actually speaking Federation Standard.

Re: Aliens always understand English?

No they aren't. They mention speaking English at least once or twice. As for example when Khan wakes up and says "English... I thought I dreamed hearing it." in Space Seed.


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Re: Aliens always understand English?

Well if you really want to get picky (and what Trekkie doesn't), when Khan went on the Botany Bay and was put into suspended animation it was called English.

As for Federation Standard, it's never been stated on any of the TV shows or movies that the official language is called Federation Standard. That only happens in books and other non official cannon sources.



No Sitcoms! No Sports! No Reality!

Re: Aliens always understand English?

What's remarkable there is that it was the same English. If you spoke to an English-speaker from 250 years ago the way they spoke would sound quite strange, though you'd be abled to understand an educated person of the time.



Re: Aliens always understand English?


What's remarkable there is that it was the same English.


Of course it's the same as English. It is English. The Federation and Starfleet were created by Earthlings, they spoke English, it became the standard language of the Federation. Hence Federation Standard.


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Re: Aliens always understand English?

As I said, if you spoke to someone from the past, they would speak English differently to you. Have you ever seen any Shakespeare?



Re: Aliens always understand English?

The Universal Translator is built into every communicator. It allows them to speak with anything close to human. They do talk about it some in each Star Trek series. When Enterprise (2004) starts they can't speak to the Klingons because it's not finished yet. The Com Officer Ensign Sato has the newest version of the translator and works on it throughout the series.



No Sitcoms! No Sports! No Reality!

Re: Aliens always understand English?

Later, in the books, they ave an implant that takes care of it.

Re: Aliens always understand English?

Well, the Ferengi universal translator is implanted - somewhere inside their ear. When Janeway and her away team encountered abducted humans from the early 20th century; she pointed to her com badge when explaining the universal translator. They've always kept it ambiguous. According to Memory Alpha, it was referenced at least once as a wand-like device in the TOS episode, "Metamorphosis."


Somewhere, perhaps in a book, I got the impression that it had been suggested that there was a telepathic element to the circuitry of the translator. In that same wiki article, it does say something similar was proposed and dismissed in an early proposal for the series.


"I'm in it for the power and the free robes." - Harry Stone

Re: Aliens always understand English?

The book The Biology of Star Trek hypothesises it works by telepathy.



Re: Aliens always understand English?

Some of the Star Trek books make reference to a "Universal Translator" that is implanted somewhere, I guess in your ear. Apparently the alien races have this too but it's a tad too convenient.

Re: Aliens always understand English?

Aliens can't always understand Federation standard, and vice versa. In the TNG episode "Darmok" the universal translator is unable to decipher the metaphorical language of the Tamarians.

"Now, I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds."- J. Robert Oppenheimer

Re: Aliens always understand English?

Hope I'm remembering this correctly. On "Enterprise" the crew runs into the Tholians (STO "Tholian Web.") In the original we never see the Tholians, just their ships building an energy web around the Enterprise. On "Enterprise" they are a spider-like being who speak in what sounds like electronic noise. Now this I may be wrong about, but I don't think the universal translator worked with them, so through the whole show all we get is the buzzing without knowing what they're saying.

No thanks. I don't think that an hour each week of alien *beep* would have been very interesting. "Darmok" was a beautiful show and the metaphorical language was intriguing and good writing, I don't think I'd like a diet of that.

Re: Aliens always understand English?

Mostly they didnt wanted to waste a lot of time with communication every. friggin. single. time. they met a new type of sentient extraterrestial.

So they came up with the universal translator.

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