As I’m transitioning from living and working in the United States to France (moving soon), I’ve begun to look for travel apps that can help make the move easier. I have the typical iPhone travel apps such as FourSquare, Kayak Pro, FlightTrack Pro, Skype, TripIt, Zagat, iTranslate Pro, SpkEasy FR, Luthansa (and many other airlines), Hotel Tonight, eCurrency, etc, but recently I’ve come across a type of travel app that I wasn’t familiar with and absolutely love: augmented reality apps that instantly translate foreign text.
The app that I’ve been using is the Word Lens iPhone app from Quest Visual with the French to English dictionary. This app is seriously amazing- one of the best uses of augmented reality that I have ever seen on an iPhone app. I’ll say it again, this app is amazing. Watch the video below for a demonstration.
One of my biggest fears when traveling in France is ordering off a French menu with no English translation. I’m a picky eater and I strive to avoid awkward mystery meat situations. Now, I don’t have to worry. Word Lens is like traveling with my own personal translator. If you’ve ever been abroad and needed to read foreign text, Word Lens can instantly help you. Just point your iPhone camera at the text and it translates it immediately in front of you.
The Word Lens app is free, and will do some simple rearranging of words to show you how it works. The dictionaries are in-app purchases, for $9.99 each, and the app runs offline so you don’t have to worry about expensive roaming or internet charges. Currently Quest Visual offers French to English, Spanish to English, English to French, and English to Spanish dictionaries.
Coupled with my Fluenz French lessons, I might just be confident enough to visit a restaurant with no English translation menus the next time I am in France- I’ll let you know how it goes. In the mean time, if you know of travel apps I should be checking out, please let me know.