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How exactly did Kirk and Co. speak to all those aliens???

My son has a favorite translation machine from the Japanese anime
"Doraemon". The title character, a robot cat, pulls a "Honyaku Konyaku"
out of his 4 dimensional pocket. Honyaku = translation / konyaku = a
delicious hard jelly made out of a root. Once someone eats this, they
can converse with anyone from anywhere in the universe...or history, if
they happen to be time travelling.

What other mystical translations machines are out there?

Markus
University of Michigan

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