Universal translator

The universal translator is a fictional device in the Star Trek universe, which recognizes and translates all known (and some unknown) languages.

There is a scene in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country in which the crew of the Enterprise has to communicate with the Klingon outpost Morska. Uhura doesn't speak much Klingon, so they had to look up words in various books, because the Klingons would have recognized the universal translator.

Real life approaches

The approach to a universal translator is a real thing, for example the Bing-translator. But those approaches are very far from translating the klingon language: Bing for example, uses translations of Hamlet and Much Ado About Nothing provided in English and in Klingon. The software compares these translations and tries to "understand" the language, rather than understanding its grammar. The problem is that those translations have strong differences. For instance, in the English version, Hamlet lives in Denmark, while the Klingon Hamlet is from the Klingon homeworld Qo'noS, so Bing translates Denmark with Qo'noS and the other way around.

Those things have to be manually corrected by a few volunteers, which is almost impossible, considering the amount of work and the small amount of time volunteers have. But even without the time problem, there is still the fact, that language isn't always unambiguous - especially for a computer program - and the comprehension is very dependant on context.

Alternative: Analyzer

Currently there are many programs, which offer an analysis of words, instead of a complete translation, but avoid the problems mentioned above. They are basing on word lists and a description of several properties of the words, their relationship and their additions. Examples are the Android app boQwI', the program mu' haqwI', the software pojwI' and the search engine of the Klingon Assault Group on http://hol.kag.org.
Category: StarTrek    Latest edit: 04 Aug 2019, by JeremySilver    Created: 09 Mar 2017 by DirkSchlSser
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