Filling the void

While investigating why my computer seems to be using more memory than usual, I zeroed in on the google toolbar which came preinstalled on my computer.

It did not seem to be taking up too much memory, nonetheless, I targeted it for uninstallation. Prior to uninstalling it, I decided to see what features and options it offered (I never used it - which was another good reason for uninstalling it). In doing so, I noticed that it offered a translation feature (disabled by default): by hovering over a word, it would translate the word into your language of choice, or you could send the whole web page for translation.

Several weeks back, I had a similar idea, I thought how great it would be to have a dictionary plugin for the browser which would allow you to (1) translate words from one language to another, (2) provide thesaurus functionality, (3) allow spell checking. I envisioned it working by either hovering the mouse over the word to get a list of translations (which is how google's feature works) or right clicking on a word or selected passage to invoke more advanced language tools.

It seemed a fairly obvious void and was surprised that I was not immediately aware of any popular tools in this regard (aside from altavista's BabelFish - which I think is the best online translation tool available. I have found Google to be more transliterative than Babelfish). I suppose I could have done some research to see if others had noticed this missing functionality, but it was not a priority.

Now I know that someone else has started to fill the void I observed a few weeks back.


ghee said…
really?this is a good info,Richard.

Im only aware of Babel fish,too.,though,its not that useful i think,well,some of the readers use it but never came back i think,LOL!

i need that spelling checker,haha!I blog mostly at night(alwats sleepy),so i found out in the morning that i mispelled some words or names but too lazy to correct them.oh well...
You have amazing foresight and vision. Something may only an insightful and contemplative person like yourself would possess. Maybe you can think about setting up a boutique consultancy where you can dream up different ideas and solutions for what is seemingly so ordinary and simple.

You never know what your hidden potential is unless you actively unleashed it.
Barbara said…
It's difficult to be really original in the IT world these days. There are some impressive products out there, many of which are free. I find Google itself to be utterly amazing.
RennyBA said…
I've had the same experience - thanks for sharing yours! It's difficult to find translations from and to Norwegian though, so I have to figure out myself:-9
Richard said…
ghee: the main limitation I saw of the google toolbar translator is that it is avaailable for only a few European languages. Babelfish is still the best online translator I know of.

elvina: thanks! Maybe I need to hire you are my personal coach / manager. I need someone who is a good people / networking person.

barbara: originality is not really a necessity, if you look at most products they are really the same old, same old just dressed up in new packaging. Innovation comes in new ways of thinking and doing things, but that means getting people to change their habits. IT produces lots of lousy user interfaces because they don't think like people do. A few years back I insisted that a medical product I was working on did not expose files to the user - instead we just show patient records (there was a whole lot of file management going on behind the scenes, but this was hidden from the doctors). I absolutely hate products like word and excel which ask the user to select a file - instead they should be showing the user a list of available documents, without allowing the user to root around the harddrive. The interface is designed wrong, users are not interested in files and directories, they are interested in documents and possibly folders.

rennyba: I don't recall the google toolbar offering translations to Norwegian (I think they only did French, Spanish and German).
b said…
Interesting. As ghee said, this is very good info. I've heard of Babelfish but have not dabbled yet. I'll have to check these out, thanks.
Richard said…
breal: you have't tried babelfish yet? Hurry, go to and click on the Bablefish translator at the bottom. It does far more languages than google and, in my and my wife's opinion, a far better job (but, keep in mind, it is a mechanical translation, so it will always be imperfect).
freckled-one said…
I had no idea that the toolbar had that capability.. thanks for letting us know. I don't like installing those types of things on my computer at home cause it's ancient and slows down the entire system.

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