It just got that much easier to go to a foreign country and get by. That’s because a new app understands your fears. The app for Android and iPhone called Word Lens will use your phone’s built-in camera to recognize text and then translate it into English. Voila!
The app works at this point for French, Spanish and Italian. After you take a picture of the text in the original language, the translation software in your phone turns it to English and pasts it over the original location.
The app has already been working overtime for Spanish on the iPhone for about 18 months. Now, it will be available on both smartphone platforms and will have the additional language choices.
The translation is then pasted over the original location, practically in real time.
While the app doesn’t take on every nuanced phrase – it does do a pretty impressive job of translating road signs, restaurant menus and typical language phrases.
As Otavio Good, one of the Word Lens developers told TechCrunch,
“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.” He continued by explaining that, “The translation isn’t perfect, but it gets the point across.”