A babel fish is " small, yellow and leechlike" , and I've always wanted one, but never more so than since becoming an ipernaut.
According to Douglas Adams,
"..It feeds on brainwave energy received not from its own carrier but from those around it. It absorbs all unconscious mental frequencies from this brainwave energy to nourish itself with. It then excretes into the mind of its carrier a telepathic matrix formed by combining the conscious thought frequencies with nerve signals picked up from the speech centres of the brain which has supplied them. The practical upshot of all this is that if you stick a Babel fish in your ear you can instantly understand anything said to you in any form of language."
(See The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy for further details- worth reading if only to discover the true value of a towel and the answer to life, the universe and everything)
How cool is that? I've envied Arthur Dent ever since Ford Prefect stuck one in his ear canal on the Vogon spaceship.
In my babel fish-deprived state, I have been using
for relatively understandable translations.
I've just realised Google has a pretty good translating tool on
I've been wondering what everyone else does- is there a better option out there?