(The tail end of “Fish Tails”!)
Language is often a barrier to so much. The Babel Fish is a fictional species of fish in the The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. A small, yellow, leech-like fish it functions best as a biological universal translator at the time of The Babel Fish Full Moon. At this time it is particularly zealous about translating from one spoken language to another simultaneously.
When it is inserted into the ear of its hopefully willing host, it then converts sound waves into brain waves, via its nutrition processes. As a convenient consequence the Babel Fish has created an end to the language barrier between any and every species in galactic space. An important point for an interstellar hitch hiker.
“You’ll need to have this fish in your ear.”
“I beg your pardon?” asked Arthur.
Ford (Prefect) was holding up a small glass jar which quite clearly had a small yellow fish wriggling around in it…He gasped in terror at what sounded like a man trying to gargle while fighting off a pack of wolves.”
“Arthur Dent, a surviving Earthling, commented only ‘Eurgh!’ when first inserting the fish into his ear canal. It did, however, enable him to understand Vogon Poetry – not, necessarily, a good thing.”
From The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Published by Harmony Books in 1979
The name Babel fish’s connects to the biblical story of the Tower of Babel, in which events resulted in God introducing different languages into the world.
The Babel fish has proved very inspirational providing the title for AltaVista’s online text translation service. And also for another non-affiliated translation service Babel Fish Corporation.
And one other thing….
The HHGTG Official DVD WebSite