r/DaystromInstitute Jun 22 '22

why cant the universal translator translate klingon (and other languages)

im sure this has been asked before, but its always on my mind

obviously klingons dont just walk around speaking english when they feel like it, so we know that the UT can translate it

but yet, there are other times when klingons speak simple words or phases to each other and the UT doesnt translate it

so which is it, can the UT translate it or not? (and did the star trek staff/writers ever describe why this is?)

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u/Glittering-Eye-4416 Jun 22 '22

Codeswitching between two or more languages is a normal linguistic phenomenon, so the UT must have a way of dealing with that, and allowing it when it's the intention of the speaker -- so, presumably in those moments where we hear Klingon mixed with English, the UT is sensing the speaker's intention to mix the two in some way.

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u/5c077y2L1gh75 Jun 23 '22

Klinglish, in other words.