Is it possible for anyone to know all languages, outside the realm of fiction? I know a couple of languages and am comfortable speaking, reading and consuming content in them. I would love to learn more, but shuffling time be tween work and personal life, does not give you a chance to study another language. But, then you don't have to really learn new languages these days if you know which tools to use. Though some of the tools I am talking of today have existed for sometime, others have just re cently come out and some have im proved over time.
TRANSLATING TEXT, WEB PAGES
If you want to read a Chinese blog in English or aWikipedia page in Hindi, all you need to do is open either BabelFish (http://babelfish.yahoo.com) or Google's Translate (http://translate.google.com) and paste the block of text or the URL of the webpage you want to translate and select the language you want it translated into.Within seconds you will be able to read the page in the language selected, though there are bound to be some grammatical mistakes. Anyway, the translated page can give you a fair idea about what the original text means.
In case you just want to send an email to your friend in Germany and sign off with `your's sincerely' in German, you can use the tools and just copy-paste the result, Mit freundlichen Grüßen.
The Google Translation service has gone one-up to Yahoo's Babel Fish by letting you listen to the translated text, thus helping you understand how to speak or understand what others are saying.
For those using Firefox, there are add-ons available for Babel Fish and Google Translate that you can add to your browser for instant translations.Those on Android phones can download the GoogleTranslate app, while others can always visit these sites using your browser.
TRANSLATING CHATS LIVE
Quite a bit of our conversation happens on online chat these days. But language is a great hindrance for these dialogues. This is where the Google Translate bot makes life easier, though only if you have a Gmail or Gtalk accounts. All you need to do is add the Google Bot into your friends list, type the message there and it will translate it for you to send to you foreign friend. I would love to see the day, when you could get two bots, say English to French (en2fr.bot.talk.google.com) and French to English (fr2en.bot.talk.google.com), in a common room with a friend, thus allowing you to talk to each other without shuffling screens.
So, from trying to impress a friend in France to trying reading a poem written in German, translator tools can make life much easier for you. I think it's time we can all safely claim to know all languages.
(GAGANDEEP S. SAPRA SIE100822)