For people who began using the World Wide Web when it was first starting out, many of them might remember using Babel Fish to translate websites from other languages. The service, launched by AltaVista, got its name from the alien fish that goes into Arthur Dent's ear in Douglas Adams' classic BBC Radio show (and then novel) The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy to translate alien languages.
Yahoo later acquired AltaVista in 2003 but kept the name Babel Fish for its website translation service. Earlier this week, Microsoft announced that Yahoo users will now get their website translating features from the company's Bing Translator team.
In its blog post, Microsoft said:
We have been working closely with our friends at Yahoo! to make this an easy transition, and Bing Translator is a natural upgrade to the experience with Yahoo! Babel Fish. We support all the languages you used with Babel Fish, and provide a superset of all the features.
The blog post goes into some detail about how Bing Tranalator works with its many features. Still, it's something of a shame that the Babel Fish name, at least in terms of website translation, is now no more as yet another small part of early Internet culture is put out to pasture.