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'Word Lens' Translate Real World Text in Real-Time with iPhone Camera

Speaking a foreign language in a foreign land can sometimes be fun, but every now and then, it just gets annoying -- especially when you're tired, hungry, and don't feel like decoding an entire tapas menu, or worrying about whether you should order in the subjunctive. From now on, though, you may never have to, thanks to a new app called 'Word Lens' from QuestVisual

As TechCrunch explains, Word Lens has the ability to translate words inside of photographed images -- a la Google Goggles, or a Chinese learning app called Pleco. Just take a photo of any sign, billboard, or menu written in Spanish, and it can automatically generate an English translation (or vice versa). To work this magic, Word Lens relies on Optical Character Recognition technology, which produces literal, word-for-word translations. "It tries to find out what the letters are and then looks in the dictionary," says co-founder Otavio Good. "Then it draws the words back on the screen in translation."

Word Lens

Good and John DeWeese spent two and a half years working on the app, and finally introduced it to iTunes last night, where it's on sale for $4.99. For now, Word Lens only offers Spanish-to-English and English-to-Spanish, but Good says he's eager to extend it to other European languages, as well. To try Word Lens out for yourself, head over to the iTunes Store.

Tags: apps, augmented reality, AugmentedReality, ios, iphone, iTunes, language, spanish, top, translation, travel, Word Lens, WordLens