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Author Topic: Parle vous Yehatizz?No? And how about VUXan? That neither? Ok, and how about...  (Read 4110 times)
Son_of_Antares
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Parle vous Yehatizz?No? And how about VUXan? That neither? Ok, and how about...
« on: January 30, 2009, 08:28:47 am »

In the gamethread we are currently playing an interesting question occurred to me, and I was wondering about it ever since: besides the telepathically endowed races like Arilou and use of talking pets by the Ur-Quan, how are the Alliance and Hierarchy races communicating with each other and within themselves when not on their starships relying on their supercomputer translators to do the job? Was this explained in any of the games (SC1&2)? I've searched the wikia (not overly thorough though) but to no avail  Tongue here are some of the iconic ways for communication in all of SF that I could think of at the moment:

1 Universal Translator Computer and Xenolinguists (Star Trek + Star Trek: Enterprise (which sux so badly by the way imho, I had to comment on that Smiley )
2 Babel Fish (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy)
3 Galactic Standard Dialect (Foundation)
4 Star Wars (I'm not sure about this one...hmm...xenopolyglots? Space Esperanto?)
5 Microbe Interpreters (Farscape)

Is UQM using any of these (or similar to these) or they have their own unique way of communicating? I'll thinker about it some more, but I want to hear your opinions as well!
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Re: Parle vous Yehatizz?No? And how about VUXan? That neither? Ok, and how about...
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2009, 08:45:18 am »

I can't recall if canon backs me up here, but I've got the distinct impression that the Precursor ship in SC2 had a much more effective translator than other races in the SC universe had access to. I doubt the Hierarchy races have any sort of translating software anyhow. After all, the Ur-Quan rely on telepathic translation. And their Thralls aren't supposed to do much communication on their own. It'd seem appropriate (from the Ur-Quan point of view) to have their slaves communicate with each other in the Ur-Quan language.

On the Alliance side I imagine that there is a much larger interest in learning each others languages, but how effective their translation program is I don't know. I think it's doubtful that it's effective enough to translate completely unknown languages. I'd imagine that alliance members serving on other ships could get a crash language course, and then learn by immersion.

So I'd think that computer translators do exists, but not as effective as the ones you have access to during the game and that a lot of people learn at least a secondary language as well. Of course, this also opens up the whole can of worms regarding languages... We have several, why wouldn't others? Presumably every race has settled on a lingua franca within the race though.

As for some sort of standardised language, I think the Alliance might have some interest in this but I doubt it'd be very widespread. They'd only have gotten a proper incentive to use it during the war, in which they were defeated and enslaved. So it'd hardly have spread outside their respective spheres of influence.
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Re: Parle vous Yehatizz?No? And how about VUXan? That neither? Ok, and how about...
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2009, 11:10:31 am »

In Judge Dredd there was a special alien language. I only have the comics in Finnish so I don't know the original name for it, but in Finnish it was "jokakieli".

What made it special, was that it was understood by everyone (humans and aliens) without any knowledge of the language itself.

About Star Control:
When the legendary captain Jeffry L. Rand had the infamous first encounter with the Vux, he didn't know that the Vux would understand his words. But they did.
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Re: Parle vous Yehatizz?No? And how about VUXan? That neither? Ok, and how about...
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2009, 03:13:20 pm »

I can't recall if canon backs me up here, but I've got the distinct impression that the Precursor ship in SC2 had a much more effective translator than other races in the SC universe had access to. I doubt the Hierarchy races have any sort of translating software anyhow. After all, the Ur-Quan rely on telepathic translation. And their Thralls aren't supposed to do much communication on their own. It'd seem appropriate (from the Ur-Quan point of view) to have their slaves communicate with each other in the Ur-Quan language.

On the Alliance side I imagine that there is a much larger interest in learning each others languages, but how effective their translation program is I don't know. I think it's doubtful that it's effective enough to translate completely unknown languages. I'd imagine that alliance members serving on other ships could get a crash language course, and then learn by immersion.

So I'd think that computer translators do exists, but not as effective as the ones you have access to during the game and that a lot of people learn at least a secondary language as well. Of course, this also opens up the whole can of worms regarding languages... We have several, why wouldn't others? Presumably every race has settled on a lingua franca within the race though.

As for some sort of standardized language, I think the Alliance might have some interest in this but I doubt it'd be very widespread. They'd only have gotten a proper incentive to use it during the war, in which they were defeated and enslaved. So it'd hardly have spread outside their respective spheres of influence.

Ok for the Ur-Quan and the pets, but we know from the game that UQ have assigned different races on same missions - the Earth guard force was composed from Ilwrath and Spathi soldiers. And they did communicate, but how? I bet the Quannies didn't gave their pets away to other races  whatever the reason or need they may have...and the alliance had such diverse mix of races that I cannot imagine them learning xeno languages (how can you teach an Earthling to speak in Chenjesan? Do they even have a language in the manner similar to ours?) or having a common talk (~too diverse physiology of some species), even if it was some sort of simple sign language (ditto). Even more puzzling are the Slylandro: now that I think about it, I don't understand how they could communicate with anyone at all; they would be unable to give any kind of return information Tongue They had no technology to back them up, and their perception of the world is totally different then that of other "groundling" races. I think that even the Orz would have easier time in getting by then the poor Slyl. Zoq Fot Pik are right behind. I also considered the same idea as Luki did that other races could have 10s or 100s of different native languages and dialects which would just make the things more complicated. And if you can't understand the other side you can't do diplomacy with them or trade, let alone make friends. Carl Sagan and Arthur C. Clarke both envisioned us using the universal language of mathematics to communicate with aliens, but I'm not sure how that would work for the races on different levels of civ development. As for the common script, I think that that part would be hellowa lot easier; I imagine them using some sort of pictograms similar to the ones that were used by Aztecs (hieroglyphs also come to mind) but adapted for the space age and the culture specific phrases/words  Roll Eyes Who knows what would happen if all "Xenotranslation Modules" would somehow malfunction at the same time (masterplan sabotage perhaps...); it would end the star age for sure. I can imagine all of the Alliance races on the command bridge of some starship as they yell, speak and scream (each in their own mothertounge), nervous and irritated, trying to talk and explain their intentions to each other but with little to no success, while stream after stream of superheated plasma pummels the ships hull into oblivion and the Kzer-za captain laughs his tentacles out, happy that he installed the new type of comm jammer on his battlecruiser. Man, what noise would that be, so loud...and so hilarious Grin It seems to me that the greatest obstacle on our ascension to the stars won't be mastering the hyperspace drive or peace on Earth, but interstellar grammar.

In Judge Dredd there was a special alien language. I only have the comics in Finnish so I don't know the original name for it, but in Finnish it was "jokakieli".

What made it special, was that it was understood by everyone (humans and aliens) without any knowledge of the language itself.

I like this idea; would make for great and somewhat mystic bacground plot.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2009, 05:15:44 pm by Son_of_Antares » Logged
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Re: Parle vous Yehatizz?No? And how about VUXan? That neither? Ok, and how about...
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2009, 04:20:42 pm »

Ok for the Ur-Quan and the pets, but we know from the game that UQ have assigned different races on same missions - the Earth guard force was composed from Ilwrath and Spathi soldiers. And they did communicate, but how?

Like I said, ship translators and basic knowledge of each others languages. As was helpfully supplied, the VUX figured out human language pretty much straight away, so some races are clearly able to learn languages very quickly.

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I bet the Quannies didn't gave their pets away to other races  whatever the reason or need they may have...and the alliance had such diverse mix of races that I cannot imagine them learning xeno languages (how can you teach an Earthling to speak in Chenjesan? Do they even have a language in the manner similar to ours?) or having a common talk (~too diverse physiology of some species), even if it was some sort of simple sign language (ditto).

Some of the languages are probably close enough that one can make oneself understood, and if everyone has a written language then you can always communicate that way. Plus, once you've learned a bit of someone else's language, it's quite possible to create a very basic translator even today. What's hard is understanding every nuance of every language you encounter straight away.

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Even more puzzling are the Slylandro: now that I think about it, I don't understand how they could communicate with anyone at all; they would be unable to give any kind of return information Tongue They had no technology to back them up, and their perception of the world is tottaly different then that of other "groundling" races. I think that even the Orz would have easier time in getting by then the poor Slyl.

You are the only one in game to speak to them through their Precursor satellite. Presumably the satellite is as advanced as your ships translator, meaning they can talk to anyone.

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Re: Parle vous Yehatizz?No? And how about VUXan? That neither? Ok, and how about...
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2009, 10:56:32 pm »

About Star Control:
When the legendary captain Jeffry L. Rand had the infamous first encounter with the Vux, he didn't know that the Vux would understand his words. But they did.

Keep in mind the VUX just used the insult to hurry them into the war, they would have declared war on the alliance eventually, knowing that we have 3 humanoid species (Humans and Syreen are nearly identical in appearance (Syreen also got worn down by VUX attacks showing hostility) and the Shofixti, an anthro race) unless say the Chenjesu/Mrns turned them around. Also their superior translators can be true or false (another source says Rand's officer didn't turn off the viewscreen), as they could just be saying that to glorify themselves.

The Chenjesu first arrived to speak with Humanity when they didn't have any alien communication, are known to have been "the best Hyperwave receptors" and so if any old Chenjesu is parked on any world they'll be able to pick up signals from Hyperwave receivers used by any race. They've also been observing a lot of races for a long time enough to pick up on their languages from radio broadcasts and such. They're probably the main translators beaming stuff from place to place to ensure they're in full communication (and the main communicator) with all alliance races. Hayes says "they were the main leaders even though they didn't accept the title" which kind of fits.

Other examples:

Mrns were known to speak in consonants in all languages (for some reason) meaning whatever made them had knowledge of how to get them to commune around with everyone.

Arilou arrived on Luna and offered the alliance admittance mysteriously, showing they have a knowledge of communicating with any race. Also communicated a lot with the Umgah so who knows, maybe they're that old and are that good at observing or are just natural telepaths or something.

Syreen can capture then lull an enemy into telling them their language perhaps, so communication might not be much of a problem.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2009, 11:01:05 pm by Elerium » Logged
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Re: Parle vous Yehatizz?No? And how about VUXan? That neither? Ok, and how abou
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2009, 03:18:51 am »

A critical element to keep in mind is the fact that the communicating races have been oberving each other for some time before contact. The Chenjesu have a natural advantage; natural hyperwave receivers make analyzing transmissions as easy for them as listening is for us humans. Regardless, each species is aware of it's immidiate neighbors. I would say that it is reasonable to assume that Chenjesu-provided translation software was provided to all alliance members, like the hyperspace charts. The SIS must have used alliance or human translation software otherwise the ship would be that much harder to crew (or are we to believe that there are that many people on the Earth station who are Precursor language experts?)
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Re: Parle vous Yehatizz?No? And how about VUXan? That neither? Ok, and how about...
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2009, 08:58:14 am »

Excellent points, which in my opinion underlines the difference between your Precursor translator which is capable of talking to previously unknown races and what the old races had.
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Re: Parle vous Yehatizz?No? And how about VUXan? That neither? Ok, and how abou
« Reply #8 on: July 23, 2009, 06:12:16 am »

Er... How did Zelnick talk to the Sylandro if the Sylandro had no technology? Nobody could've given a device because it would be too heavy. They couldn't have been taught OUR languages, could they?
Some sorta psychic communication?

Okay, so Content To Hover was a Speaker, but how did he learn English?
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Re: Parle vous Yehatizz?No? And how about VUXan? That neither? Ok, and how abou
« Reply #9 on: July 23, 2009, 07:35:19 am »

Er... How did Zelnick talk to the Sylandro if the Sylandro had no technology? Nobody could've given a device because it would be too heavy. They couldn't have been taught OUR languages, could they?
Some sorta psychic communication?

Okay, so Content To Hover was a Speaker, but how did he learn English?


No, the Precursors installed a translation satellite a long time ago, and it still works.
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Re: Parle vous Yehatizz?No? And how about VUXan? That neither? Ok, and how abou
« Reply #10 on: July 23, 2009, 04:41:31 pm »

In A Deepness in the Sky, one group of interstellar traders has been flying around from system to system, NAFAL, for a long time, broadcasting a lot of information at every planet all the time.
That way, whoever's there will have a way of understanding the traders, and also a technological boost large enough that, they'll be worthwhile trading partners - in particular, able to refuel their ships.

That doesn't seem to have been happening here, exactly.

Also, a related conversation: http://forum.uqm.stack.nl/index.php?topic=1812.0
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Re: Parle vous Yehatizz?No? And how about VUXan? That neither? Ok, and how about...
« Reply #11 on: July 24, 2009, 06:57:11 am »

The VUX I believe had automatic translators, and so does the Precursor ship (proof: the message that appears when you first meet the Orz). The Precursor one is probably better than the VUX one, of course.

What made it special, was that it was understood by everyone (humans and aliens) without any knowledge of the language itself.
Shocked I came up with this exact same idea independently of Judge Dredd...

how can you teach an Earthling to speak in Chenjesan?
I seem to recall reading somewhere that their language is unpronounceable for humans. Either that, or they communicate via HyperWave transmissions.

Even more puzzling are the Slylandro: now that I think about it, I don't understand how they could communicate with anyone at all; they would be unable to give any kind of return information Tongue They had no technology to back them up, and their perception of the world is totally different then that of other "groundling" races.
I expect they just happen to be telepathic. Wink

Zoq Fot Pik are right behind.
I'd say their language is based on movements – ie like a sign language.

As for the common script, I think that that part would be hellowa lot easier;
A common script for multiple languages exists today; it's called Chinese. I think it would be like learning a second language, though, except the second language has no spoken form – only a written form.

You are the only one in game to speak to them through their Precursor satellite. Presumably the satellite is as advanced as your ships translator, meaning they can talk to anyone.
...Wait, there's a satellite? Shocked

Arilou arrived on Luna and offered the alliance admittance mysteriously, showing they have a knowledge of communicating with any race. Also communicated a lot with the Umgah so who knows, maybe they're that old and are that good at observing or are just natural telepaths or something.
I'm pretty sure they are telepathic.
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Re: Parle vous Yehatizz?No? And how about VUXan? That neither? Ok, and how about...
« Reply #12 on: July 24, 2009, 07:54:16 am »

Even more puzzling are the Slylandro: now that I think about it, I don't understand how they could communicate with anyone at all; they would be unable to give any kind of return information Tongue They had no technology to back them up, and their perception of the world is totally different then that of other "groundling" races.
I expect they just happen to be telepathic. Wink

...No, there is a translation satellite built by the Precursors for the specific purpose of communicating with the Slylandro, orbiting the Slylandro homeworld.
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Re: Parle vous Yehatizz?No? And how about VUXan? That neither? Ok, and how about...
« Reply #13 on: July 24, 2009, 03:35:52 pm »

See my question further down in my post.
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Re: Parle vous Yehatizz?No? And how about VUXan? That neither? Ok, and how about...
« Reply #14 on: July 24, 2009, 06:32:12 pm »

Yes, they mention that the precursors gave it to them a long time ago. I suppose it probably does use psi to beam signals to the Slylandro as they don't have any other way of getting messages from it on the... well surface isn't the right word but you see what I mean. They used the same sattelite to communicate with the Ur-Quan and I think the Draali or one of the other Mileu races (they mention one or two others race but I forget if they only knew them through the Ur-Quan).
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