In “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” Douglas Adams tells us about the Babelfish, a small fish you put in your ear, which lives on sound waves and excretes brain waves, neatly translating any language (if you don’t mind a fish in your ear). I can’t describe how much I wanted a Babelfish while I was growing up. But, as it turned out, I had to content myself with the study of Spanish and Chinese.
But really, I was wrong. A Babelfish is only part of the solution to communicating with different people (or aliens). Today, I’d rather be able to converse eloquently and with meaning in one or two languages, rather than understand every language. There should be a counterpart to the Babelfish — some kind of barnacle — that attaches itself to a tooth and then makes what you say intriguing yet comforting to anyone you speak to. Until we discover it or a new author invents it, I’ll have to content myself with talking the best I can. You can practice on Chatfe. Send us a message to join the private beta.