A universal translator is a device common to many science fiction works, especially on television. First described in Murray Leinster's 1945 novella "First Contact", the translator's purpose is to offer an instant translation of any language. Technology companies are striving to develop a practical "universal" translator for common use.
As a convention, it is used to remove the problem of translating between alien languages, unless that problem is essential to the plot. To translate a new language in every episode when a new species or culture is encountered would consume time (especially when most of these shows have a half-hour or one-hour format) normally allotted for plot development and would potentially, across many episodes, become repetitive to the point of annoyance. Occasionally, alien races are able to extrapolate the rules of English from very little speech and then immediately be fluent in it, making the translator unnecessary.
While a universal translator seems unlikely, due to the apparent need for telepathy, scientists continue to work towards similar real-world technologies involving small numbers of known languages. See machine translation and speech recognition for discussions of real-world natural language processing technologies.
Other articles related to "universal translator, translator, universal":
2005 review of SpeechGear's CompadreInteract product stated, At last, this is the StarTrek Universal Translator, and you can buy it today ... Google has announced that it is developing a translator ... a communications software called VoxOx launched a two-way translator service for instant messaging, SMS, email and social media titled the VoxOx Universal Translator ...
... race called the Skrreeas, but their language is difficult for the universal translator to understand ... a hard time adjusting to rules and regulations at first, but the universal translator eventually translates their language and enables them to communicate ... Kira buys a dress for Haneek that Haneek seemed to be admiring when the universal-translator was not yet functioning ...
Famous quotes containing the word universal:
“We are now going through a period of demolition. In morals, in social life, in politics, in medicine, and in religion there is a universal upturning of foundations. But the day of reconstruction seems to be looming, and now the grand question is: Are there any sure and universal principles that will evolve a harmonious system in which we shall all agree?”
—Catherine E. Beecher (18001878)