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"The SF approach: an awareness that things could have been different, that this is one of many possible worlds, that if you came to this world from some other planet, this would be a science fiction world."
- Neal Stephenson

Menslator  
  A translator that works by examining the mental image of what you are trying to say.  

Scyth Radnor is trying to explain to the beings on the third planet from the sun that it might be necessary to move their planet just a bit. Better get the menslator.

...Scyth Radnor, tinkering with his menslator on the darkside of Mercury, caught a whisper of a signal. He tuned his passband carefully, trying to peak it into one response strong enough to resolve into definitive thought, but the band was spread too wide, the thoughts were too diversified...

...he turned back to his menslator and turned up the gain. It radiated, for them, echoing the mishmash of thoughts directed back and forth across the face of Terra.

From Troubled Star, by George O. Smith.
Published by Better Publications in 1952
Additional resources -

Fortunately, it's not very big, so you can carry it around when you speak with the natives.

Scyth laughed. He touched a little case hanging at his belt. "This gadget is what we call a menslator," he said. "It is always used in speaking to people on planets other than our own.

Compare this item to Larry Niven's translator disks from Ringworld (1970) and of course Douglas Adams' Babel fish from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

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  More Ideas and Technology from Troubled Star
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