Word Lens – The Translation App that Could Change the World

I woke up this morning to an email from a friend of mine. This certain friend is constantly in the “know.” He is always on message boards or reading the latest news articles. Waking up to one of his emails is not a new occurrence, this happens once or twice a week but I will hand it to him, usually when he sends me something it is worth knowing.

Today’s email was titled “Introducing Word Lens,” and all the emails was, was a link to a YouTube video and a one word message from my friend, “Whoa.” After watching a few seconds of this video, I would have to agree with my friend’s brief description of this unheard of app.

For those of you who stumbled on the article and haven’t done any research into Word Lens, let me give you a quick rundown. Word Lens is a language translation app. I know, I know – there are lots of text-to-text translation apps out there but this one is visual. All you have to do is point your iPhone camera at some Spanish text and it will show the translated English words on the screen, in real time.

I am still playing with the app but I will be honest, I am increasingly impressed. The app is free to download but the Spanish to English dictionary is $4.99 and the English to Spanish is the same.  These are in-app downloads.  The free version does come with some tricks however. To prove the app is worthwhile and not an illusion, it will reverse the text or completely erase the text from whatever you are pointing at. There are some stipulations. It does not recognize highly stylized fonts. The lighting must be good or it will have problems picking up the words.

And finally, with any new technology there are flaws in the translation. This is expected with such an adaptable app that needs quite a few things to be perfect to work correctly.

Personally, I think this app is using technology that will forever change travel.  No more brushing up on your Spanish before you head to Mexico for that much needed beach vacation.  And when more and more languages are released you will be able to safely travel anywhere without carrying multiple dictionaries. This is very exciting. I can’t wait to see what’s next.

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Josh is our resident iPad owner. He hates hidden word games. Developers BEWARE!

1 Comment

  1. Cgtsteve

    July 21, 2011 at 11:39 am

    Hi Josh,

    Nice work! Do you know of any academic articles in Journals about Translation apps for Iphone and Ipod etc?


    Dr Steve Hampshire

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