Go take a look at translator.live.com or translate.live.com and you’ll notice that the Windows Live Translator is now live! Microsoft hasn’t made any official announcement regarding it, but it’s there in beta, and it works (most of the time). Alta Vista’s Babel Fish Translation was probably one of the first more well-known translation services, but many more have popped up since it first launched. Of course Google has their own free translation service, and Yahoo acquired Babel Fish, so now three of the top search engines offer a translator.
The thing about these translation services is that many of them are powered by Systran, and Windows Live is no different. Systran is also used by Babel Fish, so when you’re using the Windows Live Translator, it’s nearly the same experience as using Babel Fish. Google too uses Systran, but they have done some of their own work for a few of the languages.
With Windows Live Translator, it’s nice that you can view both the original text and the translated text on the same page. Google displays both the original text and the translated text, however, the original text gets placed in a small scrollable box that only displays two lines of text at a time once you’ve translated it. With most of these services offering the same translation, it will likely come down to the interface which will be the deciding factor in which service people will choose to use.