In most science fiction stories that include alien races, the differences in their spoken languages often call for a Universal Translator, which can translate any language into the users first language. The translator itself can range from a small device, usually attached to the ears, to neural implants hooked up to the speech centers of the brain.


  • In Galactic Civilizations, before the player can enter diplomacy with another race, he must research the Universal Translator technology. In addition, a type of Trade Good called Diplomatic Translators can be created, which grants a bonus to diplomatic ability to the owner and those that it has been shared with.
  • The Vasudans in Descent: Freespace utilize translators to communicate with the Terrans, who are virtually incapable of learning their language.
  • The Universal Translator secret project in Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri, which grants two free technologies upon completion and any Artifacts can be cashed in at the base where it is built (as opposed to the Network Nodes, which can only be linked to one).
  • The Hyper-Wave Decoders in X-Com: UFO Defense intercept and decode the tachyon transmissions that UFOs use to communicate, revealing the UFOs class, mission and the race that crews it. Their counterparts in X-Com: Terror From the Deep, the Transmission Resolvers, do the same with the comm. signals from Alien Subs.
  • The Babel Fish from The Hitchhiker's Guide to The Galaxy, which feeds on unconscious neural signals and excretes conscious signals, allowing anyone to understand anything in any language by simply sticking one in his ear.
  • The prototype ETAK device in Freespace 2 was a translator devised by the rogue GTI to communicate with the Shivans. It was later found on the flagship of Admiral Bosch, the NTF Iceni, which he had used to successfully contact an SD Ravana (albeit with some difficulty, as ETAK wasn't perfect) and strike a deal with the Shivans.

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