Goodbye Babel Fish, Hello Bing Translator
The long standing online translation service Babel Fish is no more. The web application that was launched in 1999 changed owner twice, first in 2003 when it was bought by AltaVista, and then again in the same year when Yahoo bought the AltaVista company. Babel Fish had two core features: first a text translation feature that could translate up to 150 words into a different language, and then a web page translation feature that would translate a page on the Internet into a different language.
When you compare the offering to what Bing Translator offers, you will notice that the switch to Microsoft could feel like an upgrade to some users of the Babel Fish service, at least when it comes to the functionality provided by the service.
Babel Fish users who are trying to access the website of the service will notice that they are now automatically being redirected to the Bing Translator website where they are greeted with a welcome message that they can click on to read up on the transition.
One of the most interesting features of Bing Translators is the service's side-by-side feature that you can use to display the original and the translation side-by-side in the browser window. This is excellent for users who are not fluent in a language, but do understand it to some degree, as it is now possible to compare the original with the translation to assess the translation's quality (and check if a translation is thorough).
Microsoft notes that the translation technology used by Yahoo's Babel Fish service is different from the "statistical machine translation technology" that is powering Bing Translator. This is why users may notice differences in translations when the outputs are compared, and why some users have stated that Bing's translations are inferior, while others have stated that they are superior when compared to Babel Fish.
Yahoo has now released an official statement about the closing of the Babel Fish translation service. It is however likely that it is part of the company's restructuring.Advertisement