A few days ago my favorite on-line translation tool – Babelfish from http://babelfish.altavista.com changed the address from Altavista to Yahoo, now it is automatically redirected to http://babelfish.yahoo.com. The change happened when I was translating something and was quite surprised to see the result for my translation on Yahoo and not on Altavista.
I’ve been using Babelfish powered by Systran for years now and not only that it became my favorite translation tool, but something I use on a daily basis. Wherever I need a translation from Chinese or Korean, to French, Spanish or German – that’s the place to go. Of course in order to get more accurate translation it is advised to use shorter sentiences and use no abbreviations. The Chinese translation is just great, often very accurate when translating from English to Chinese (you’ve got two options – Chinese-Simplified and Chinese-Traditional) and understandable when translating from Chinese to English. But sometimes it’s just ridiculously amusing. Me experience with Korean using Babelfish wasn’t that good, most of the time Koreans will say you sound like an alien, I mean it will still make sense, but rather be difficult to understand and it is something non-comprehensive when translating from Korean most of the time. It works fine when translating to/from French and Spanish though, and Japanese translation is also quite good. You can translate from Russian as well, but I don’t really need it (only from Russian to English available), other languages as Dutch, Greek, Italian and Portuguese also available. Now, since it moved to Yahoo! they also offer a translation from Chinese Simplified to Chinese Traditional and vice versa – I wonder how often does somebody actually uses that?
Anyway, the Babelfish is no longer on Altavista. Babelfish was bought by Overture when they acquired Altavista and Yahoo! became the owner of both when they bought Overture. So it goes like this: Bebelfish –> Altavista –> Overture –> Yahoo!
Will it go further –> Microsoft? I’m actually glad that Microsoft did not acquire Yahoo, every company or brand with a Microsoft touch is spoiled in the end (take Hotmail for example). The only thing that keeps Microsoft in tops is the operational system they rely on and the American market where things like msn.com and live.com are still popular.
P.S.: Do you know that the name for Babelfish on-line translation comes from a fictional species fish from “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” series by Douglas Adams. For more check on wikipedia:
if you stick a Babel fish in your ear you can instantly understand anything said to you in any form of language.