Ever worry about traveling to another country and not being able to get around or food? Google hopes to solve that problem with the app Word Lens.

Word Lens: An Augmented Reality Live Word Camera Translator

Word Lens has been around a while, but Google has just bought the company and the app is now free.  One of the reasons they bought the app is to bring this app to Google Glass.  This also means all Android phones can now get this app for free.  This app will work without an Internet connection which is a critical requirement for an app of this kind.  When you travel to a foreign country, you won’t have Internet service on your phone, but luckily the translation is done all from within the app.

Tips for Using Word Lens

To use the app, just select the language you need translating from and point the camera in that direction.  However, like any app that tries to do word recognition through the camera, make sure your lens is smudge free, and it works best in bright environments, such as outdoors where it probably would work best.  For indoors, try the flash, but bright soft lighting would be best so that glares don’t get in the way of word recognition.

It's Cool, But Not Perfect

You’ll notice that when it struggles to read the words, the words it will kinda act wild.  We found when it does this, it is usually a focusing issue.  Make sure you give it at least the minimum focus distance for your smartphone's camera.  Holding it steady as possible will also help a lot.  One thing you can do is when you got a good lock on the words, you can hit the pause button to access each word in the dictionary individually.

Limited Language Support For Now

The list of supported languages is very limited: English, Spanish, German, Russian, French, Portuguese, and Italian. The good news is Google is planning to incorporate their translation engine into the app, which can only mean better translations and more language support.  This update can’t come soon enough.  Look for a big update in the future.  It may be world-changing.

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