Star Trek: Discovery Season 3 May Ditch The Universal Translator

Star Trek: Discovery

Star Trek has a ton of amazing technology on it: transporters capable of instantaneous travel, replicators that can make almost anything and, of course, warp drives that enable our characters to explore the galaxy. But one largely invisible bit of tech that’s hugely important is the Universal Translator, which lets those from various alien species communicate with one another.

But what if the Universal Translator doesn’t work anymore? Inverse has posted an interesting article arguing that the upcoming third season of Star Trek: Discovery should ditch the device. This season will see our heroes 900 years into the future in the 32nd century, meaning there’s bound to be a vast gulf in technology and culture between the crew and any new characters. This may mean that the Universal Translator simply won’t be able to translate new forms of language that it couldn’t be anticipated to understand.

Discovery has touched upon this before, of course, with the episode “An Obol for Charon,” seeing the Translator malfunctioning and the crew being unable to communicate. In the classic TNG episode “Darmok,” we see some of the limitations of the translator as well, as it cannot get to grips with the allegorical basis of an alien language. Elements like this may mean the crew could face a substantial language barrier when trying to deal with their new setting and that could play nicely into the show’s themes of cultural friction.

Or, of course, they may simply gloss over it. After all, the Universal Translator is capable of analyzing and learning new languages on the spot without having to be specifically programmed for that language.

Whatever the case, season 3 of Star Trek: Discovery looks like a nice jumping on point for the series and I can’t wait to check out a never-before-seen corner of the Trek universe. We don’t have an exact release date for the third season just yet, but it’s expected to hit CBS All Access this year. Watch this space for more.