Title: Context

Author: nostalgia (http://bitextual.gatefiction.com/nostalgia)

Rated: PG

Disclaimer: Paramount...Berman...Braga...Blah...

Summary: What Hoshi does.

- - - - -

Hoshi is a lot tougher than she looks. She knows that the others on

the ship worry about her, cast her as the victim. But really, she's

tougher than she looks.

Her job isn't easy, by any stretch of the term. And really, they

shouldn't expect her to be able to reconstruct an entire language

from three nouns and a verb. But they do.

"How's the translation coming?" asks her captain. There are many good

words for him, in many languages. But sometimes she feels that

there's nothing better than a good Anglo-Saxon swearword, the way you

have to spit the hard sounds out, the way the words hurt the ear ever

so slightly.

Arabic insults aren't nearly so much fun. But she mentally refers to

him as the brother of a prostitute, and it gives her the mental calm

she needs to say, "Just a minute, sir. The syntax is a lot more

complicated than I was expecting."

And then he says, in his annoyed sigh, "What the hell is it with

these people? You'd think a language should be simple."

He speaks two languages - English, and a scattering of French. In

English, he is multi-dialectal, which is always something. She could

probably do his job with far greater ease than he could do hers. And

yet...

She has to learn each and every language from scratch. She has to use

intuition, context, and sheer guesswork. She has to study the tone of

voice and accompanying gestures. It's not like there's an English-

Alien dictionary she can pull out and look up.

Archer is just out here for the adventure. He doesn't really care

about cultures, and his eyes glaze over when T'Pol talks about art

and poetry. But Hoshi knows that language is more than a way to

convey tales of daring. It's all about the culture. Context is all.

Whatever he thinks, whatever Trip and Malcolm and Travis think, Hoshi

has as much right to be out here as any of them. They'd be lost

without her, probably even dead.

She's a lot tougher than she looks. She's far more important than

they seem to think she is.

Which is why it shouldn't bother her that they think of her as a

civilian in uniform. It's why she should feel comfortable on the

bridge. Her only failure is that she can't convince herself of her

own value. It's an old story, and one that she knows far too well.

But then, she's only a short-term measure. Every translation

algorithm that she adds to the UT moves her a little further towards

forced retirement. Who needs translators when a computer can do it

instead? Who needs a human, who eats and breathes and wastes

resources, when a computer is faster and more reliable.

Who needs translators when it's all about the adventure?