#336 – Universal Translator

I don’t really understand Star Trek’s universal translator.

I know that it’s used to translate various languages to make communication possible among Star Trek’s numerous species. It doesn’t always translate, though. Captain Picard would often speak in Klingon but it wasn’t translated to English. And sometimes the universal translator would just break down and so would communication.

It is comforting to know that even in the 24th century, as advanced as humanity will be, we’ll still have problems communicating.

I have always been captivated by Star Trek’s core beliefs. The show really is about “seeking out new life and new civilizations”. And, when new life and new civilizations are found, the goal is contact, communication and understanding. Unlike Battlestar Galactica, whose core theme is survival, or Firefly, whose core theme is freedom, Star Trek’s core theme is exploration and understanding. The universal translator and good communication are key to that theme.

Good communication is also key to our lives if we want to experience the kind of relationships for which we were created.

I preached this past weekend at church about good communication and how it is vitally important for healthy relationships. We need to be intentional with our words, tone and body language to make the most of our communication.

In James 3 we’re told that our tongues are like a spark. Much like a flame can be used for good or evil, our words and communication can be used for good or evil. Our communication can be used to strengthen or diminish our relationships.

Our communication can build up or tear down.

Our communication can align or divide.

Our communication can resolve or sustain conflict.

Whatever our communication is going to accomplish, whether positive or negative, is up to us. Communication is neutral; its only value is in how we use it. If we want to experience the relationships for which we were created: healthy, encouraging, supporting and growing relationships, then we need to pursue good communication.

In Star Trek, the universal translator wasn’t enough. It wasn’t enough just to understand what someone else was saying. Good communication was necessary to form and further relationships. And, if it was true for Captains Kirk, Picard and Archer, then it’s true for us as well.

We may not have the universal translator to help our communication but we do have God’s grace and his Spirit, which are infinitely better.

What helps you pursue good communication to benefit your relationships?

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One Response to “#336 – Universal Translator”

  1. jason taylor Says:

    They don’t explain how it worked and information on the Klingons would not have been available in Archer’s time.

    Now in Traveller the equivilent is just a database on languages.

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