Word Lens

Word Lens

Word Lens

Instant language translation, wherever you look.

…And now for something revolutionary! Word Lens takes augmented reality apps to a whole new level by translating text through your iPhone’s camera in real-time.

You simply point your camera at foreign text – be it a signpost, book, notice board, anything – and the text will be magically translated into English as you stare at it through the viewfinder.

The magic doesn’t happen instantaneously with this free download though. Once downloaded what you essentially get is a demo that allows you to play around with the technology without utilising any useful features.

The only features you are privy to in the free download is the option to ‘Erase Words’ – which will remove chunks of text from whatever you point the camera at, and ‘Reverse Words’. The latter is slightly more enjoyable to play around with as you can point the camera at logos and suchlike and marvel as it reverses the words in the viewfinder and presents them in a similar font style.

Where this app really excels though is in text translation and for that you have to spend an additional £2.99/$5.99 apiece for the Spanish to English and English to Spanish add-ons.

Though this feature doesn’t tend to recognise handwritten or stylised fonts, it does actually work by providing literal or rough meanings for whatever text you throw at it, making it handy as a quick reference guide for browsing menus or understanding danger signs.

Also, if the camera doesn’t convert the text in real-time for you then you can access a separate feature to call up a keyboard, whereby you can type in a word and the app will translate it for you.

No network or internet coverage is needed to operate the app, so you can call on its expertise anywhere, which is very reassuring.

What with this being version 1.0, the options so far are limited, the prime example being the Spanish exclusivity at present. However, regular updates should see more languages added such as French, German, Italian and perhaps even Japanese – now that really would be amazing!

The conversion process is far from perfect, as the developer itself readily acknowledges, and we couldn’t get the software working anywhere near as seamlessly as the demonstration movie (check it out on YouTube), but the app is proof enough that technology is shifting into a whole new realm and the days of the humble pocket phrasebook could well be numbered.

Rated 5 out of 5

A wonderful app that takes text translation to a whole new level. Sample it now and be amazed.