No speako da lingo? Can’t follow the foreign? Persist in walking into the wrong restroom in restaurants? Then the answer to your baffled prayers is here as, finally, the world of witchcraft that is Word Lens makes its magical way onto Android…
Augmented reality may still be in its infancy at the moment and, although being used in movie-promotional apps left, right and centre, is unlikely to really come into its own until Google’s Project Paper – AR glasses – is launched possibly later this year. However, aside from making Iron Man fly out of your computer screen a bit, Word Lens is the only true display of AR’s incredible potential to date, using the virtual world, as it does, to instantly translate printed foreign gobbledegook into easy to understand mother-tongue.
Capable of converting characters between English, Spanish, French and Italian, simply point your smartphone’s camera at the troublesome text and watch agog as the words on the screen change before your very eyes into your own language, yet remain in the same context, all without the need for a network connection.
Useful in endless scenarios (that involve printed words), whether its ensuring that the road sign you’re staring at isn’t going to send you into oncoming traffic, that the squiggles on the menu you just pointed at won’t result in a plate of raw bull’s testicles turning up, or simply that the form you’re about to sign isn’t trading your wife/husband for 1000 camels – scenario savers its hard to put a price on.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Of course, even magic such as this is flawed and, while Word Lens undoubtedly does the job, the translations can often be a little ‘jumpy’ and the original app only features one Language Pack with others costing an additional £2.99 each. But these are only minor drawbacks with what is otherwise both an awesome example of augmented reality and a top translation tool.
Current version: 1.2.1
Requires Android 2.2.3 and up