The latest and greatest from the iTunes app store is as revolutionary as the Shezam app was for me when I first got it two years ago. The new application "Word Lens" from Quest Visual will instantly translate any street sign right on the screen of your phone. And that is just the beginning! Word Lens has topped my list of not only favorite travel apps, but best app out of all 112 of them on my phone (I know, way too many). Here is why:
- Word Lens can instantly (real time) translate a menu, road sign, magazine ad, or any other printed text.
- The app works without a WIFI connection or cell reception. This is huge because most travel apps fail when people keep their phones in airplone mode abroad and the app requires a connection. This one doesn't!
- The translation appears in the image as if the actual sign (or any item translated) was originally in the language you are translating too. I am not a programmer, but this seems like an amazing feat.
- Eventually Word Lens will be able to do many more languages than just Spanish/English, but for now those are the languages I use the most.
- It simply looks and works like something you wouldn't expect to be around for another 5 years. A very futuristic app in the palm of your hand, getting you out of confusing situations while abroad.
Cons: So far, not everything is perfect, but that is expected from a first release. Here are a few things that I notice need some work:
- More languages, obviously!
- When the app is attempting to translate a sign and is confused on one or more words, the translated text seems to flash too quickly between the choices and makes it illegible for the user. Slow it down a bit.
- The actual translations are a bit rough. The translations it gives are about as accurate as copying and pasting your high school essay into a basic free translator online. The app needs a little work in this area.
Overall, the pros outweigh the cons tenfold. This is by far the best travel app on the market (when traveling in Spanish speaking countries). Word Lens is a groundbreaking app that does what none of us regular travelers ever thought was possible.
Go buy the app here ($5/language) in the iTunes store.