Instant Translation — A killer app for Google Glass?

wordlensImagine sitting down to read a journal article. You look at it and you say… “Oh, it isn’t in English. Where did I put my glasses for reading German?” I reckon we’re about a year away from that.

If you’re using an iOS device, download WordLens now. It is amazing software that will translate in real time using your device’s camera lens, combining the tasks of optical character recognition with lookup and translation. It isn’t brilliant for pages full of text, but point it at signs, menus, or book titles and it’s great. They used to charge for each individual language, but the whole company has just been bought by Google and for a limited time they’ve made all the additional languages available for free. Download the app, and then from the app, download the “More Languages”.

I first saw it about 3 years ago. What I really loved is the way that it even attempted to match the colour and size and typeface of the text it was translating. It seemed like science fiction then and it still does. But the obvious thing to for Google to do with this is not to pack it into Android phones and tablets, but to put it into their glasses! Imagine walking around in Russia with your glasses automatically translating all the signs. Or putting on your glasses and having a German newspaper turn into English in front of your eyes.

That’s next year. Today, you still have to use your iPhone or iPad. Download WordLens.

Now where did I leave my rocket-pack?

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