Translate real world text on the fly with Word Lens

Once a year an application comes along and blows our minds. The application usually has no business doing what it’s doing, but somehow, some genius software engineer has made the impossible possible. Word Lens seems to be this year’s nomination for impossibly possible application. Arthur C Clarke said it best, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” Word Lens is down right magically mind-blowing.

Word Lens is an augmented reality application that will translate the world around you, on the fly. It can translate street signs, billboards, placards, and pretty much anything else that has words in another language on it.

Word Lens currently supports Spanish to English, and English to Spanish translations, but access to the translation libraries requires in app purchases.

While the translations are amazing, the fact that the application can replace the text in place is what’s mind-blowing. If that road sign is in Spanish, Word Lens will translate, and replace the text on the sign. It borders on magical.  Something tells me that this app might make an appearance at an upcoming Apple keynote.

The application does require some heavy processing power, so don’t expect this to run on your first generation or second generation iPhones. Currently Word Lens supports the iPhone 3GS and above.

Video of the App in Action

Hat tip to Caitlin Woodward for the tip

Joshua is the Content Marketing Manager at BuySellAds. He’s also the founder of And since all that doesn’t quite give him enough content to wrangle, he’s also a technology journalist in his spare time, with bylines at PCWorld, Macworld… Full Bio