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I know it's stupid, but...

So, I've been told it's stupid to expect anything logical (or internally consistant) regarding SyFy. Star Trek is a big offender of this, but generally the Stargate franchise is better about it. Primarily because SG1 & SGA have story arcs, whereas ST is mostly episodal, and follow the rule of unintended consequences.

But whatever. I can deal with it. But lately I've been wondering: if the Stargates translate each planet's language for the SG teams, why doesn't everyone who goes through the gate suddenly understand all Earth languages.

Ie, Daniel Jackson speaks an ungodly number of languages. So why don't the other members of SG1 understand, say, German, after going through the gate with him? I suppose that can be easily explained - Daniel's main language is English, so the Stargate doesn't matter.

But what about Zelenka then? Presumably, growing up in Czechoslovakia, his primary language is Czeck. So why doesn't everyone on Atlantis understand him when he mutters in his native language? And so on and so on.

I know it's not really important. It's just been kinda bugging me.
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Ooh! Ooh! The answer I've been using for that question is totally fanon, but it's the one that I think makes the most sense (especially when comparing the Milky Way Gates with those in Pegasus). It's from auburn's Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves, which is fantastic (and also has an epic podfic available, really excellently read and definitely worth the time) - I can't seem to find the exact passage, but auburn posits that the Ring network has a kind of wireless dictionary built in, and the more times a certain language passes through a Ring, the more entries that language gets in the dictionary. So, since Earth's Gate was down for so long, and was utterly disconnected from the rest of the network, Earth languages were nearly-untranslatable at first but became a bigger part of the dictionary the more times said Gate was used. (Plus, it totally explains why Daniel got to do a lot more of his anthropology/linguist stuff during earlier seasons, and not so much later on. And, since the SGC is primarily an English-speaking organization, it makes sense that English would be the first language reabsorbed into the Milky Way Network's dictionary.) And then, since we know from SGA canon that the Ring Network in the Milky Way was basically the beta version, when compared to the more advanced Pegasus Galaxy Ring Network, auburn thinks that the same process just happened faster over there (it's why the Atlantis Expedition didn't need many anthropologists or linguists, and got to stock up on astrophysicists instead).

But, to actually answer your question (using auburn's idea of Ring-related translations, which is totally part of my head-canon now): Since Zelenka hardly ever uses the Gate, and since he's the only one speaking Czech when he does go through, there aren't enough Czechoslovakian Language entries in the Pegasus Network's dictionary for the Ring to auto-translate him.

Does that help any? (Also, you should TOTALLY check out the podfic. I've listened to it all the way through more than a dozen times - it's my fall-back SGA story, for when I need to just calm my brain some days, and it is truly amazing....)
I've read the story but, honestly, didn't care for it much. I'm just not a Vala fan, and it kinda colours my appreciation of the fic.

But, as cool as that explaination is, there is sort of the problem that no one actually uses the gate while talking, so the dictionary has to come from, I dunno, some sort of brain scan. Or something. Either way, if one or two passes through a Gate is all it takes it get you a generally coherant picture of a language, then Zelenka's Czeck should at least be able to be partly translated - rather like censored dialogue, only with random words not translated, rather than just the bad ones. In fact, since he mostly uses Czeck to curse, only the bad words should be translated when he speaks in his native language...

And, just to be devil's advocate, no matter how many dictionary entries you have, grammar is a seperate thing entirely, though I suppose a "brain scan" could work on that too. Though given most people's knowledge of grammar, it's probably more problematic than acurate...
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