Babelfish was the original free online language translator. It translated text or web pages between 38 languages, including English, Chinese, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Korean,Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.
Babelfish was named after the creature in Douglas Adams's book and radio series The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. The babelfish was a yellow creature that one would insert into their ear to hear instant translation.
Launched December 9, 1997, by Digital Equipment Corporation and SYSTRAN S.A., babelfish was extremely popular. In February 2003, Overture Services, Inc. bought AltaVista. In July 2003, Yahoo! bought both of them and ultimately shut down the service in 2012.