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Let's go to Babylon!

by Sigi Rindler

Not the city on the Euphrates but Babylon in or from Israel! Since I subscribe to a couple of mailing lists for translators, I have found translation software called Babylon. To make it palatable even to the poorest socks in the business, it is completely free... if you don't count the 3MB to 5MB download from the company's web site in Israel (http://www.babylon.co.il/eng/).

What can Babylon do?

It will translate words and expressions from English to Hebrew, French, German, Spanish, Italian, and Japanese. It's not one of the usual translation programs like the one built into the search engine AltaVista. With this one you simply place the cursor on an English expression which you don't know in your target language, press the right mouse button, and get the result in a pop-up window in the language of the loaded dictionary. To close the translation pop-up window, click the left mouse button. Even if you know the expression in your own language, you might like to use another one... the one that sits at the tip of your tongue, but your brain just isn't in synch with it. Since this goodie was recommended by German language teachers, I thought that it was worth to have a closer look.

What can I say as somebody who makes a living with word crunching? I really like it since it is better than a couple of online dictionaries on my hard disk. Especially since it is at your fingertips in any Windows 3.x (the FAQ says 3.11 at one point and 3.x later on) and Win95/NT application.

When Babylon is activated, the right mouse button is occupied by the program. To make this button work for Win95, just click on the Babylon icon at the desktop. And if you'd like to know what a certain English expression is that doesn't appear on the screen, just click the right mouse button at any place where no word appears, type the word or expression) to translate and press the <Enter> key.

I have tried to translate the English expressions "update" and "upgrade" and was amazed that it even covers them correctly in the field of computing.

The program is free as already mentioned, but it expires after 100 days. After that you would have to download it again. The company is adding upgrades I was told.

I talked to the language manager for the German section. She told me that this program is "sponsored" and that her company is developing an entirely different program. Just see it as a very useful by-product...

After that I tested the Japanese version, which works exactly in the same manner. Note that you'll need a Japanese operating system to make the Japanese dictionary work!

What else is there to say?

The program needs some improvements when reading Adobe Acrobat Reader files, but this was promised to be fixed.

System requirements:

  • PC486+
  • 8MB RAM
  • Windows 3.x/95/NT
  • Not available for the Mac yet.

Don't forget to download the FAQ since it'll answer all the remaining questions.

I hope you enjoy this program!


© Algorithmica Japonica Copyright Notice: Copyright of material rests with the individual author. Articles may be reprinted by other user groups if the author and original publication are credited. Any other reproduction or use of material herein is prohibited without prior written permission from TPC. The mention of names of products without indication of Trademark or Registered Trademark status in no way implies that these products are not so protected by law.

Algorithmica Japonica

August, 1998

The Newsletter of the Tokyo PC Users Group

Submissions : Editor


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