I played a game for about 4 hours (Ver 0.6) in which it was impossible to trade or do diplomacy because the Universal Translator tech never appeared after choosing to research it myself, nor could I cycle the tech choices for Cultural, so I couldn't encourage it to do so.
Team would have to weigh in here. There was a tech weighting bug that occurred in one of my games (I think it was 0.60, but might've been 0.55), so this may have been fixed. I went ~150 turns without ever being able to research UT that game.
When the next update comes out we'll see if this balancing is better..