There are iPhone apps that blow our minds like Shazam which can tell you the name of nearly any song it hears. There are also cool apps like Yelp that use GPS data to allow the user to hold their iPhone up and see ratings for nearby restaurants. Today we came across a travel app that combines the benefits of augmented reality with the wow factor of Shazam. Word Lens allows users to hold their iPhone up to a sign and translate it to their preferred language.
The video below shows a best case situation in which everything is translated correctly. We downloaded the app, which is free, then added the Spanish to English translation dictionary which was $4.99. As we surfed the web looking for Spanish signs we found that often the translation gave us a better understanding of the meaning but did not provide as strong of a translation as we see in their demo. A co-founder Otavio Good admits "The translation isn't perfect, but it gets the point across."
For a traveler this app could be beneficial in helping you find your way around a foreign city or help you make sense of a menu in a foreign language. As they continue to hone the apps functionality over time this could become one of the most vital travel apps for travelers visiting foreign countries where they are not familiar with the language. Currently the English to Spanish and Spanish to English sets are available. According to a TechCrunch interview with Good it sounds like French will be next and Italian and Portuguese are on the horizon.