Translate Words Inside Image with Word Lens for iPhone

January 1, 2011 — by Simon Ng1


I traveled to France two years ago. Most restaurants only offered menus in French that I couldn’t read it. Usually I just ordered my dishes randomly. The experience is not limited to France. I got the same experience when I had a trip to Japan last year. Does this experience sound familiar to you when traveling aboard? Wouldn’t be great if there is an iPhone app to translate the restaurant menus for you? Word Lens is definitely the iPhone app you should check out and install it on your device for your next trip.

Word Lens, developed by San Francisco-based Quest Visual, uses Optical Character Recognition technology to recognize words in image and translate the text in real time. Unlike other translation applications that requires you to input the text for translation, Word Lens offers an innovative way to handle translation. You simply launch the app and point the camera to the sign or menu. Word Lens will then look for the text in the image, translate the text to your language and display the translated words on screen instantly. You do not need to press shutter button to take a still shot before submitting for translation. The translation process starts instantaneously as you point the camera on a sign and the translated words are re-drawn on the screen as you can see from the below samples.