The language barrier


Banded Mongoose
Going to have some aliens as part of the team which do not have the standard Imperium languages(s).
I've been looking through equipment and not seen anything like a translating device that one might wear. I can see translator software that runs on computers.Any ideas?

Edit: there is a Mobile Comm device, core rules p. 109 that can run Bandwidth 1. Maybe it's that?



The rules are tools, not chains. Your travellers can run expensive software on handheld computers. They could pick up a mass produced consumer gadget in a pinch, and hilarious conversations could ensue. If you're the GM, get creative, if you're a player, encourage your GM's creativity by suggesting a possible solution.


Banded Mongoose
It doesn't take much of a computer to run translator software.
We used low-powered computers, built at higher TL, so they're tiny. It runs Intellect and an Expert/Electronics (Comms) to run the built-in transceiver. It can tie into the local infonet, like a cell-phone, or open a channel to other crew members, routing through other crew-members, or the ship if necessary.


Cosmic Mongoose
I would assume that any computer of tech level 10 or higher would have a translation program of known languages as part of its standard software package. Dedicated translation computers might even be available at TL9.


Banded Mongoose
Of course translation errors are always fun. GURPS Traveller Interstellar Wars had the origin of the Hero-class Free Trader as one such mistranslation. The Terrans asked the Vilani what their ship was and the Vilani said disigshar, which means "sandwich filled with a variety of sliced meats and vegetables", as an example of Low Vilani slang commenting on the ships' less than elegant appearance and pedestrian mission. The translation program rendered the word as "hero" (i.e. "hero sandwich") but the Terrans thought it meant literally hero and became naming ships after heroes from folklore and mythology. Thus we havve the origin of its descendant the Beowulf class Free Trader, as over time even the Ziru Sirka Navy began calling these Free Traders that were operated by Terrans as Siigiizuni ("heroic person").


Cosmic Mongoose
We have translators on phone apps today that translate spoken words in real time.
A high tech one could do it better. A manufacturer just needs a programming team/expert software that speaks both languages.


Cosmic Mongoose
Another shameless plug... in the Central Supply Catalogue 2023 update, I did try to distinguish the capability of Translator software and the process by which the Universal Translator software can learn an unknown language. Short answer: TL9 Translator/0 - very literal real time (ish), TL10 Translator/1 more real time, more nuance. But in both cases only for common languages. The Universal Translator software (TL12 Bandwidth/3) requires hours of learning and may give erroneous results, especially for languages of unknown sophonts with non-visual and/or non-verbal components.

And to the original question, a Mobile Comm has the computational power to run appropriate Translator software at comparable Tech Level.