So, there are people who have built a realtime digital translator, of sorts, for dolphin-to-English. It seems rudimentary, just at present, but I gather that the people working on it have been excited by their progress to date, and they have bold plans to strike up a conversation with wild dolphins.
Apparently, the researchers are teaching dolphins certain sounds as symbols for phenomena, and then listening to hear whether and how the dolphins use those sounds in the context of their own audio communication with one another. The major breakthrough: a dolphin has been heard to use the “word” for “seaweed,” perhaps in some context where that seemed intentional. (Whether the dolphin understood that it was saying seaweed, may be another matter.)
What would dolphins tell us, if they could? Oh, I hope I live to learn that.
Ursula Le Guin has a delightful short story, spare and exquisite, about animal-human communications… and as I’ve just this minute discovered! you can read it online.
How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,
That has such people in’t.