Word Lens Turns iPhones into Camera-based Translators

Now it's Spanish, now it's English. Believe it.


Forget clunky pocket dictionaries when traveling abroad and even smart phone based translators that require users to enter text to be translated—Quest Visual’s new World Lens app on iTunes uses the camera in iPhones to translate through the power of augmented reality. Signs, menus, you name it can all be viewed through the app and are converted from Spanish to English or vice-versa. This is some Star Trek stuff here. Check out the video below to see what I’m talking about. 

Word Lens for iOS in action: 


Right now, Word Lens has 85 ratings that average out to an impressive four out of five (4/5) stars. The app is free to download, but to actually use it, you have to purchase language packs inside the app. They’re actually pretty cheap at $4.99 but right now only Spanish to English or English to Spanish packs are offered. Expect more to be released as this catches on (Quest Visual has also promised more). 

Word Lens requires an iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 or iPod touch 4th generation and iOS 4 to work. (I guess it’s really time to trade in those iPhone 3G’s guys and girls.) Now if only the app also translated spoken words in real-time as well. It looks like the whole tricorder idea from Star Trek isn’t nearly as far off as you would think. 

Before you plunk down the cash to buy one of the language packs, go download the app (the download is free after all) and check out the two demo features that Word Lens has: ‘erase words’ and ‘reverse words’. The demo features work as expected. One simply erases the words the app recognizes and the other reverses the order of the words. While not particularly useful, they are nifty little tricks that showcase the powerful technology that Quest Visual powers their translator app with. 

The app also has a regular dictionary lookup feature included with language packs in case it has trouble translating something. While Word Lens usually does an excellent job, it does sometimes have difficulties with stylized text and background elements. Expect the technology inside the app to improve with each update though. 

Like what you saw in the video? Any languages you really want the app to support before you would consider using it? Let me know. 

**Editor comment: This new app from Quest Visual is so amazing no network is required, you can translate all offline.

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