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Did Worf / Spock speak English?

  1. Mar 9, 2017 #1
    In an episode of next generation, worf experiences deja vu during a poker game. He calls it by its Klingon name though, indicating that he speaks English and just doesn't know some words. Is this consistent throughout the Star Trek alien crewmen? I assumed he always spoke Klingon and the universal translator did the work. I remember that Worf was raise by humans, but what about Spock?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 9, 2017 #2
    Spock's mother was human.
     
  4. Mar 9, 2017 #3

    Vanadium 50

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    All aliens speak English. More amazingly time travelers have discovered that Julius Caesar spoke English instead of Latin! And with a mid-Atlantic US accent.
     
  5. Mar 9, 2017 #4

    russ_watters

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  6. Mar 9, 2017 #5

    russ_watters

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    Of course they speak English! It's been the de facto universal language since the US became the world's only superpower some 400 years ago! Everyone learns it as a kid!
     
  7. Mar 9, 2017 #6
    Cue Q.
     
  8. Mar 10, 2017 #7
    Spock knew English, but someone on that set was just talkin' Shat.
     
  9. Mar 10, 2017 #8

    StatGuy2000

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    You know that the only time I recall Vulcans were ever heard speaking their own language was in Star Trek II The Wrath of Khan, where Saavik (portrayed by a young pre-Cheers Kirstey Alley) and Spock were speaking to each other about Admiral Kirk.
     
  10. Mar 10, 2017 #9
    Yeah, but they never portray anyone speaking their own language. In TOS they came across a WWII Japanese pilot. He said astonished that everyone else appeared to be speaking Japanese, but we the audience always heard him speak English.
     
  11. Mar 10, 2017 #10

    StatGuy2000

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    The wonders of the 1960s TV budgets of the day -- who cares about subtitles? :biggrin:
     
  12. Mar 14, 2017 #11
    Was that TOS? I thought it was Voyager.
     
  13. Mar 14, 2017 #12
    Honestly not sure. I thought it was TOS, Roddenberry liked to have characters from former enemy states like the USSR and Japan. It may have been though, been a while since I've watched either.
     
  14. Mar 14, 2017 #13

    StatGuy2000

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    It was definitely Voyager -- the episode was called "The 37's", where the Voyager crew discovers a group of humans (including Amelia Earhart, portrayed by TV actress Sharon Lawrence) who were abducted from Earth in 1937.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_37's

    I remember in the episode that Captain Janeway explains to the revived group of humans (which included a Japanese soldier), that the Universal Translator was incorporated into the com signal in the clip on their uniforms.

    Aside: That's not to suggest TOS didn't have some similar episode -- it's been a while since I've watched it.
     
  15. Mar 14, 2017 #14

    DrClaude

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  16. Mar 14, 2017 #15
  17. Mar 20, 2017 #16
    On Deep Space Nine; Nog, Rom, and Quark are sent back to 1945 for an episode where their translators aren't working and they're seen speaking Ferengi.
     
  18. Apr 20, 2017 #17
    So, meta-thinking a little bit here - if everyone can afford a universal translator, and it sure seems like that is the case, then does the spoken language really exist anymore? Mastery of the spoken language is a skill. Has it been reduced to an esoteric skill? What would happen if there was a calamity and all the translators broke at once? Would a lot of people find themselves at a loss for words, or unable to pronounce the words they want to say?

    Speaking of which - what about babies? A universal translator should be able to take whatever form of communication a sentient being has, and translate it - so a baby, at least one old enough to say their first words, should be fluent in English. Imagine a six month old screaming it's fool head off, red faced, while the translator overlays and tunes out that screech with "Mommy, I am hungry and I am tired, and I bit my tongue while crying. I need comforting please."

    How do these translators translate? Someone wrote the software. Sometimes they have to be updated. I would love to be the guy who hacks the translator network and replaces all translations of the word "Yes" with "No", or changes the default language to "Cow".
     
  19. Apr 20, 2017 #18
    You have to be able to form sentences.
     
  20. Apr 20, 2017 #19
    I think the star trek translators were stand alone devices, so that eliminates most of the hacking concern.
    However I don't think such a device is feasible realistically as it would have to be dependent on there being a common language which all other languages could be reduced to.
    Mathematical statements do mean the same in every language, but everything else is related to culture and context, which vary widely,
    Often there is no direct equivalent phrase between one language and another, so even the best human translators need to improvise, which basically is an art form,
    Machines by definition can't do art or apply imagination, or comprehend jokes.
     
  21. Apr 20, 2017 #20
    Jack Chalker's Well of Souls had translators. One character advised that when the language started to sound too precise it meant the translator was "guessing".
     
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