The Internet and Languages
December 1997 was a turning point for a plurilingual web. AltaVista, a leading search engine, was the first website to launch a free translation software called Babel Fish (or AltaVista Translation), which could translate up to three pages from English into French, German, Italian, Portuguese or Spanish, and vice versa. Non-English- speaking users were thrilled. The software was developed by Systran, a pioneer company specializing in machine translation. Later on, other translation software was developed by Alis Technologies, Globalink, Lernout & Hauspie, Softissimo, Wordfast and Trados, with free and/or paid versions available on the web.
Brian King, director of the WorldWide Language Institute (WWLI), brought up the concept of "linguistic democracy" in September 1998: "Whereas 'mother-tongue education' was deemed a human