Google acquires app that translates foreign language text in real-time


Hoping to expand the range and functionality of Google Translate, Google recently purchased an app called Word Lens. Originally created by Quest Visual, a privately run American company, Word Lens is an app that can translate several different languages into English (or vice versa) using the built-in camera of most smartphones.

The Word Lens app allows users to point their cellphone camera (taking a picture or video is optional) at text written in a foreign language. The app will then translate the text into the language of your choice. For now, translatable languages include English, Portuguese, German, Italian, Spanish, French, and Russian.


Now that Google owns the app, we can expect its integration with Google Translate, which in time should allow for the inclusion of several other languages for immediate translation. With Google’s resources, a future that includes the ability to translate just about every spoken language is not unforeseeable. At the moment, Word Lens is only available on iPhone, iPad, and Android devices.


Word Lens, however, remains a work in progress. The app often has difficulty translating particular types of stylized text or handwriting, and it can make mistakes. Despite these occasional errors, Word Lens usually gets the point across.

With Google now on board, most of these issues should be ironed out.

Here is a short video demonstrating this amazing app, which is currently free for a limited time only:





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A self-taught writer with some college (a nice way of saying that he didn't graduate), Nate fell in love with pocket billiards in his mid teens, and has spent more than half of his life as a student of the sport. Yes, it's a sport. He will argue incessantly if someone claims otherwise. He also loves video games, his favorite game being Dark Souls, followed by Dark Souls as a close second, and The Last of Us being his fourth favorite game (Dark Souls is his third favorite game). He has a tendency to ramble on when you strike up a conversation with him, so asking him for a short bio is a dangerously boring proposition and not recommended. Otherwise he tends to keep to himself. He is also an editor and founding member of Tech Gen Mag, living in southern California.

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