The Babel Fish was created in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, long before Google Translate or Yahoo’s version that was named after the Babel Fish, or any of the other free translators you can find online. Google Translate and Babelfish are not always reliable, because there’s slang and there’s names and there’s lots of other things that trip up the programs. It’s impossible to use a dictionary to translate one language into another one, but if there was an easy way to do it perfectly, it’d be revolutionary. The benefits would change everything about the way we live today. There are lots of benefits of the babel fish, and those benefits could lead to changes in the world we live in.
First of all, Babel fish are portable–they’re small enough to fit in your ear, and although they must be uncomfortable, they work efficiently. You understand what you hear as you hear it. You can’t rely on Google Translate, but you can rely on a Babel fish. That’s what really renders learning languages useless. Time spent learning English, or foreign languages in class could be spent learning other things. You would only need a babel fish, and you wouldn’t need to learn to speak at all. Extra time could be spent learning science and math. Society would advance even quicker with the babel fish.
Also, babel fish are much better translators than any existing programs. Other translators have flaws–awkward speech, changed connotations, sentence structure, misread meanings. The babel fish eradicates all of that. If two people who spoke two different languages both had Babel fish, they could have a perfectly normal conversation, whereas two people holding cell phones with an app that translates your typing wouldn’t be able to. That’s important. Babel fish make communication between countries easier. Interpreters are no longer needed. There are fewer misunderstandings between people. The babel fish really could remove a lot of problems in communication.
Finally, the Babel fish translates everything, as it says in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. If it translates everything, I’m guessing that means it either has an unlimited and constantly updating database of languages, or it translates based on what people are trying to say, rather than what they are saying. And really, they’re the same, since language is like modern art in that anything’s a language if you need it to be. And if the babel fish translates everything, surely it translates animals’ thoughts, or alien speech, or the speech of indigenous tribes, or babies (which would be extremely helpful, no doubt). The babel fish would be a mind reader too. It would be impossible to lie to anyone with a babel fish, which would greatly reduce crime. The babel fish would be helpful in a lot more than the obvious places.
There’s no doubt that the babel fish would be extremely helpful for us. It has powers that we only can dream of, it has amazing potential, and there are many places where this could be useful. It’s got so many more benefits than other translators. But we have to make do without it. Maybe we will someday come to a point in time where we have a tool of this power, but until then, we will have to live without shortcuts.