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Google picks up incredible visual translation app Word Lens and makes it free (Another reason NOT TO LEARN SPANISH while SOB?)

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Google picks up incredible visual translation app Word Lens and makes it free (Another reason NOT TO LEARN SPANISH while SOB?)  Empty Google picks up incredible visual translation app Word Lens and makes it free (Another reason NOT TO LEARN SPANISH while SOB?)

Post by Chapalamed Sun May 25, 2014 3:19 pm

Google has purchased Word Lens, an impressive app that translates foreign languages in real time using the iPhone and Android smartphone built-in camera. It's now free for a limited time.
Word Lens

FOR FULL STORY - CLICK HERE !!!!!!



Back in 2010, a company called Quest Visual debuted a little app called Word Lens. It scarcely seemed possible, but the app translated a number of different languages in real time using just the smartphone's camera. When traveling in a foreign country, Word Lens users would simply hold the phone up to a sign and the camera would immediately translate it.

Currently, users can translate between English and Portuguese, German, Italian, French, Russian, and Spanish.

It's easy to see why Google would want to own it -- its stated mission is to make all the world's information searchable in any language -- and Google Translate generally does this quite well, at least for web pages.

With Word Lens, iPhone users can translate the world. Apple even featured the app in its recent "Powerful" television ad for the iPhone 5s, and it's obvious why.

Even better, it doesn't require a connection to the internet, which is another benefit for business travelers.


Word Lens isn't perfect. It has trouble with particularly stylized text or handwriting, and the translations will make occasional mistakes. However, most of the time, it will at least get the point across.

No financial terms on the acquisition, which was announced on Quest Visual's website, were disclosed. Neither company shared details on what the future holds for Word Lens either, other than the website saying that the app and language packs would be "free to download for a limited time," while the Quest Visual team transitions to Google. Individual language packs previously cost $3 each.

Quest Visual
Image credit: Quest Visual
The app itself is free to download from the App Store for both the iPhone and iPad, and I couldn't recommend it more highly. The translations are available via an in-app purchase, though they are currently free. It's also available on the Google Play Store for Android users.

Because we don't know how long Word Lens will remain on the stores, I recommend that you pick it up as soon as possible, particularly if you travel internationally.

Word Lens is truly one of the killer apps for mobile, and it should be a staple on every phone. Here's hoping that Google keeps it around in some form or another and doesn't kill it off.

What about you? Do you have a situation where you used -- or should have used -- Word Lens? Let us know in the comments below.
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Post by juanrey Sun May 25, 2014 10:02 pm

For those with iphones, you definitely want to give this one a try. Loaded it on my wife's phone just to see how it works and it is super cool. It uses the camera lens to view and translate. Hold the phone up to a sign in Spanish and the letters change to English. Very cool technology and I understand it does not need the web to work.
Yes it is only about 60% reliable, but nevertheless it is very cool.
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Post by addtocart Mon May 26, 2014 9:10 am

It also is available for Android. I put it on my phone last week and it is amazing. I thought it might translate the text and then you have to go to another screen to read it, but no. It changes the letters on the sign or printed page right in front of you.
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Post by addtocart Mon May 26, 2014 9:11 am

I might note that it is a 48 meg download, for the dictionaries I suppose, so people with on older phone lacking much memory might have problems.
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Post by sparks Mon May 26, 2014 9:33 am

If you could only get it without an iTunes account ..... they want your whole life story 3 times over. Not for me
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Post by addtocart Mon May 26, 2014 10:43 am

Update: On my android phone it works as described. I downloaded it to my Ipod Touch (like an Iphone) and it reverses the translated text. If you want it readable you have to pay $5 US. Uninstalled.
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Post by Grizzy Mon May 26, 2014 10:59 am

addtocart wrote:Update:  On my android phone it works as described.  I downloaded it to my Ipod Touch (like an Iphone) and it reverses the translated text.  If you want it readable you have to pay $5 US.  Uninstalled.

Yup. Me too.
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Post by addtocart Mon May 26, 2014 11:26 am

Since Google bought the company, they moved to have it free on Android to drive people to Android phones I guess. Sort of a "screw you" to Apple.
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Post by papa chango Mon May 26, 2014 11:31 am

I think the acquisition was probably to reduce competition. I have been using Google Goggles for at least 3 years and it will translate signs and read QR codes and barcodes.
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Post by addtocart Mon May 26, 2014 1:40 pm

I just tried Google Goggles on the text on the side of a box of crackers.  While Word Lens changes the letters to form English words right in front of you, Google Goggles requires you to take a picture of the text, then it shows you the text and asks what you want to do with it.  I chose translate, it went to a Chrome page of translate.google.com, popped up the familiar translation form and then did nothing.  I tried several times.  Maybe it works on famous landmarks or something but it gets a "useless" on my scoreboard.
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Post by papa chango Mon May 26, 2014 2:01 pm

If you have the Google translations application installed on your machine, after you select "Translate" it translates it and Chrome is not involved.
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Post by addtocart Mon May 26, 2014 3:03 pm

OK, so I find out that Google Translate has the "take a picture of the text" built in without having to use Google Goggles. Still not nearly as slick as Word Lens, but OK. Thanks.
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Post by CHILLIN Mon May 26, 2014 8:09 pm

This app makes me laugh. Driving along, seeing a sign

ضخمة المجرى 5 أمتار إلى الأمام

Pull out the trusty translator, boot it up, etc. Hmm
Huge sinkhole 5 meters forward - KARUNK!
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Post by addtocart Tue May 27, 2014 8:29 am

I think it's not for when you're driving. More like when you are shopping for a camera or computer or something with a lot of technical stuff you need to know and want to read all the specs printed on the side of the box.
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Post by TrueBrit Tue May 27, 2014 3:58 pm

It's not so much a reason to not learn Spanish SOB, it's more of an excuse.

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Post by Lady Otter Latté Tue May 27, 2014 4:37 pm

It´can be useful to people who are learning Spanish. You do not acquire a new language the day you arrive but you begin living in the language that day. Also helpful for people who find it difficult or impossible to acquire a new language. Contrary to the way some people act, it is not a moral failing to be unable to do so.
This device could also help level the playing field for Mexican professionals unable or unwilling to learn English. As tranlation devices improve, there will eventually be no language barriers wherever you travel or live. It will be the end of those "English Spoken" premium prices.
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Post by Rosa Venus Tue May 27, 2014 9:17 pm

Can you hold that thing up to somebody's mouth who's talking to you? Does it translate that? 'Cause that'd be a winner! Get on it Google.
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Post by Lady Otter Latté Tue May 27, 2014 9:43 pm

If it doesn´t do that Rosa, there soon will be one that does!
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Post by papa chango Tue May 27, 2014 10:57 pm

Google Translate already does allow you to carry on a conversation with somebody that speaks a different language. You could speak in English into the application and it will be translated into the language of your choice and you can play a translation or copy the results.  The person you are corresponding with can listen to it in his language or read it on your mobile screen.  In Conversation Mode, the device will automatically switch to the other language for input. In other words, if you say something in English it's played back in Spanish and then automatically switches to Spanish for input to be converted to English.

I am surprised that many of you do not know about these capabilities of the current software.

 Surte
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Post by Rosa Venus Tue May 27, 2014 11:06 pm

Seriously? "Have your machine talk to my machine"? Wow.


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Post by Lady Otter Latté Tue May 27, 2014 11:12 pm

America! Whatta country!  cheers 
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