Now here's something wicked. Word Lens is an app that instantly translates text that's inside an image. It uses optical character recognition technology, so the next time you don't understand something, just point at it with your iPhone camera and you'll be greeted by an instant translation.
We'll leave it to co-founder Otavio Good to explain how the app works. “It tries to find out what the letters are and then looks in the dictionary. Then it draws the words back on the screen in translation. The translation isn’t perfect, but it gets the point across.” The app is currently a word-to-word translator, so sentences won't end up looking very coherent post-translation. It is, however, a very useful app for travelers, who might just be looking to figure out what a sign says.
Word Lens currently only offers English-to-Spanish and vice-versa translations, but more language packs are an obvious next step, according to Good. “I wouldn’t be surprised if we did French next, Italian and since my mom is Brazilian, Portuguese.”
Word Lens and its English-Spanish and Spanish-English language packs will cost you $4.99. You can try the app out for yourself here, or check out the video below.