Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Babel Fish Googling to Your Ear Soon?

Now it is such a bizarrely improbably coincidence that anything so mindbogglingly useful [the Babel fish] could have evolved by chance that some thinkers have chosen to see it as a final and clinching proof of the non-existence of Google.

The argument goes something like this: "I refuse to prove that I exist," says Google, "for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing."

"But," says Man, "the Babel fish is a dead giveaway isn't it? It could not have evolved by chance. It proves you exist, and so therefore, by your own arguments, you don't. QED"
"Oh dear," says Google, "I hadn't thought of that," and promptly vanishes under the weight of its own virtual library.

That was easy said man. Before proceeding to prove that black is white and white is black and never being able to read a computer screen ever again.

Almost a quote from Douglas Adams Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy

Yeah I have substitute Google for God in the above quote, and fiddled around with the ending and with just cause. Not only is it because Google move with almost god-like majesty over the chaos that was the Internet before they came along, but they also assume to have brought order from that chaos. Quite the deistic approach really.

But the main reason is that Google is working on creating a babel fish, or a universal translator if you prefer. They are working on technology to develop a speech-to-speech automated translator for its Android Phones, it will be a hybrid of their its online universal translator service, Google Translate and their voice recognition system.

Of course once they invent something so mindbogglingly useful we may not need Google to Anglify every written word in the world for us. They may dissapear in the puff of logic not mentioned above, but in the original quote.


  1. Google's "Babel Fish" translator will in never solve the language problem. Not only does it discriminate against anyone who cannot afford a mobile phone, but against minority language groups as well.

    There are 6,800 languages worldwide, not fifty-two !

    Moreover, if I met a native in Borneo, and he said to me in Hakka "I've lost my mobile phone" how would I understand him :) And how many starving Africans can afford a mobile phone !

    As English loses its economic power, the answer is not for us to move to Mandarin Chinese, but to Esperanto which puts all speakers on an equal footing.

    Have a look at http://www.lernu.net or http://www.esperanto.net

  2. Well there we have the move from H2G2 through Star Trek to Red Drawf and the most famous 'failed' student of Esperanto Arnold J. Rimmer.