Universal Translator

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Title: Universal Translator
Publisher: Susan Bridges, Rose Marie Jakubjansky, Linda Deneroff (see article)
Date(s): 1980-1986
Frequency: every two months or so; then later, four times a year
Medium: print
Fandom: Star Trek: TOS
Language: English
External Links:
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flyer from the 1982 Media West program book, click to enlarge

Universal Translator is a Star Trek: TOS adzine - a non-fiction zine of fanzine listings, reviews, and con announcements. It ran seven years and had thirty-two issues. As of Issue #13, it had 250 subscribers.

It was replaced in 1987 by the adzine Communications Console.

From the publisher's ad: "[Universal Translator] is a quarterly newsletter listing available, proposed, and international zines for all media fandoms in a convenient, 'see-at-a-glance' format. Also includes reviews, con info, and other items of interest to fandom." [1]

From Boldly Writing: "The general format included fanzine listings, announcements, reviews, and a list of conventions. Press publications were listed separately, showing that a significant number of fanzine editors had organized their productions into small presses by that time. Universal Translator had its own in-house reviewer, T'Yenta. T'Yenta announced that she got her pen name from a character in a Star Trek story written by Mindy Glazer, but that she was not Mindy herself."


A Small Letters Section

From Boldly Writing:
Although Universal Translator was not a letterzine, such as Interstat, it did feature a limited letters section, running fanzine-related announcements. Even so, there was a fairly intense discussion relating to the fact that demand [in January 1983] for fanzines often outstripped supply. In January, Dorothy Laoang got things going by saying, 'I discovered fanzines long after Thrust, Nightvisions, Companion, etc. went out of print. I have tried in vain to obtain copies of these and other zines to read, if only to borrow and return. Like a great many others, I cannot afford to pay auction prices upwards of $50 per zine. [We] are not asking for a handout, nor are we likely to run out and pirate your zine if you are rash enough to lend us a copy.' In the next issue, Lynda K. Roper countered that fanzine editors were not obligated to loan out copies to anyone who asked for one.

Labeling Gen and Slash

In the 1986 (January/Feburary) issue, Universal Translator (like Datazine had done earlier), started to separate Star Trek zines into gen and K/S.

This was a major step in a change in understanding of the genre and the terminology of the word "slash."

From #29 :
[our response to] "a request to identify whether our "Star Trek" material is K/S. This makes a lot of sense to us, and we have tried to list 'K/S' in the fandom identification column where appropriate, using the ads as a guide. I'm sure that we missed a few. I'd appreciate it if the editors of all 'slash' zines, of whatever fandom, would help out by letting me know if I've missed an identification. Also, I am looking for a short 'slash' ID for "The Professionals."
From #30, the editor adds:
"For the most part, we had a positive response from both editors and readers to our attempts to identify K/S and other '/' material. . . . Thanks to all you PR fans out there who brought me up to date on B/D as the accepted '/' indicator for PR.


  1. from Trek Tales