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Lost In Translation

A 6-post collection

Challenge #01902-E078: They Who Laugh Last

"I'm hungry !" / "Hi Hungry, I'm dad !"

"A man walks into a bar and says 'Ouch'."

"Why is a raven like a writing desk ? Because there is a 'b' in both and an 'n' in neither."

Those 3 English examples show perfectly why a "universal translator" is something impossible. You CAN translate it, but it will be incomprehensible.

Not convinced ? Here's a French example with a literal translation :

Que dit une maman baleine a son enfant qui fait trop de bruit ?

Cétacé ! (C'est assez)

What does a whale mum say to her child who makes too much noise?

Cetacea! (That's enough) -- Anon Guest

One would think, what with all the diverse languages in the Galactic Alliance, that comedy would not be a shared experience. Those people had not counted on two things: the ability of humans to make fun of themselves, and the ability of other peoples to find humans ridiculous.

Observational comedy, as it turns out, is almost universal.

"You want something manhandled to death, you make sure there's a human around, and then hang a sign that says, 'do not touch'."

Even the humans laughed at that one.

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Challenge #01802-D341: Communication Breakdown

Aliens who don't realise the importance of body language -- TheDragonsFlame

Humans are especially hard to understand, according to some species. Humans have traditions like ablaut reduplication and repetitious emphasis which make the words, "Like, like-like like," a valid portion of an explanation. And then there's the fact that they use their manipulating limbs to express themselves.

It was one of the finer points that the Cho'mago missed during their first few encounters with Humans. They were an insectoid species and, since

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Challenge #01770-D309: One Aggravating Evening on a Space Station

Everyone’s translators break down at the worst possible moment. -- TheDragonsFlame

Someone had sabotaged the Universal Translator. Someone for whom the peace negotiations meant only trouble. Unfortunately, there were plenty of parties who could fit that particular motive.

The negotiations room on Deep Space Nine had become a tower of Babel. Bajoran, Cardassian, several Terran dialects, Ferengi and Vulcan and Breen. All at once. Dax knew Vulcan, Ferengi, and all of the Terran tongues, but there was only one other person

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Challenge #01769-D308: Like a Bad Smell

Imagine a race of Aliens who communicate through scent like humans communicate through body language. So when they run into us they're terrified of this species that likes to coat itself in the equivalent of 'Berserker Rage'. And when we DO stop wearing 'perfume/cologne' we're so 'blank' to them that they'd almost prefer the emotional screaming again. -- Anon Guest

They could communicate with dancing hands, and that was well and good. It wasn't until they attempted in-atmosphere communication that things

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Challenge #01242-C147: Confused in Translation

http://haberdashing.tumblr.com/post/143298955329/motorizedduck-translating-is-hard-work-even -- Gallifreya

"It is... ah... what is word? A means of communicating when no longer present. Wisdom to be passing down from generations. Time... pressed...into formats for sharing."

"That," said M'llix, "Sounds rather impressive."

"No. Not being impressive. Is much common," said the human. "So everywhere that is ignored. People using for profession considered not having real profession. Is basis for all entertainments, but overlooked. Children is learning from young age, mastery of such.

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Challenge #00700 - A335: One Dead Hour at Unsuitable Food

[AN: Image shows a table of Uncommon But Useful Conversions. The list runs thus:

Time between slipping on a peel and smacking the pavement: 1 Bananosecond
Two monograms: 1 Diagram
Ratio of an igloo’s circumference to its diameter: Eskimo Pi
1 kilogram of figs: 1 Fig Newton
Basic unit of laryngitis: 1 Hoarsepower
1000 aches: 1 Kilohurtz
Time it takes to sail 220 yards at 1 nautical mph: Knot-furlong
365.25 days of drinking less-filling low-calorie beer: 1 Lite Year
1

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