the recent repeat of the Christmas Invasion episode
of Doctor Who, I noticed that the telepathic link between
the TARDIS and the Doctor, which enables his fellow travellers
to understand the alien languages to which they are exposed,
also extends to Harriet Jones and the rest of the UNIT people,
allowing them to understand the Sycoraxic speech and allowing
the Sycorax to understand them.
is this? It has previously been stated (in The Masque of
Mandragora and The End of the World) that this
telepathic translation facility only extends to those who
travel with the Doctor in his TARDIS. It has never previously
extended to all and sundry.
the Doctor has never explicitly stated that his translation
facility extends beyond those who actually travel with him,
one should bear in mind that in both The Masque of Mandragora
and The End of the World the Time Lord is addressing
an individual companion at the time. Therefore, it makes sense
that his description of the facility is on a one-to-one basis.
Who is to say that the TARDIS's translating influence has
not been reaching farther all this time? Though the range
of its powers has yet to be defined, it would certainly explain
why, when different races meet in Doctor Who, they
usually understand each other, regardless of whether they
travel with the Doctor (though you could argue that most advanced
species would probably have developed their own translation
systems, and invaders would be unlikely to attempt to conquer
a planet without first mastering the local language or languages).
fact that both the TARDIS and the Doctor need to be in working
order for the process to work might also explain a nit-pick
Leisure Hive. In this story, the Foamasi cannot
be understood - even by the Doctor and Romana - unless they
use a special vocal device. However, the Doctor is unwell
at the time, having been aged by 500 years in the Recreation
Generator. This could explain why his TARDIS's translation
facility is not fully functional.