Looking for a great free app to download for the weekend? Google has you covered. The Apple rival just bought the beloved Word Lens app that lets you use your camera to translate text on real-life objects in French, Spanish, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Russian immediately, and for now, it's completely free.
Sonico’s iTranslate is great for quickly converting text to other languages while on the go, but it’s less handy for actually holding a conversation with someone speaking a different tongue. Thankfully, the developer has just refreshed its companion app, which harnesses the power of voice as well. The all-new iTranslate Voice 2 has been updated stem to stern for iOS 7, headlined by universal support that allows it to run natively on the iPad for the first time. Unlike other apps touting so-called iOS 7 improvements, this major update actually delivers them on at least two fronts.
Nearly five months after the introduction of iOS 7, developers continue to play catch-up with full support for Apple's latest mobile operating system -- and when it comes to voice translation, the wait appears to be well worth it.
With each passing year, the need for a computer diminishes as enterprising developers contribute additional superpowers to iOS devices. One of the latest to arrive on the iPhone is optical character recognition (OCR), courtesy of Pixter Scanner. While there are plenty of solutions for turning an iPhone into a mobile scanner, few allow captured text to be converted to editable text – let alone translate it into 70 different languages. Pixter Scanner OCR does just that, recognizing typewritten (and in some cases, even handwritten) text in 32 languages. In our tests, OCR worked quickly with nearly 100 percent accuracy, even with a variety of different type styles.
The iOS App Store may be coming up on its fifth anniversary, but it shows no sign of slowing down when it comes to the discovery of new, unique apps -- such as a nifty OCR app for the iPhone and an iPad app that becomes a vault of old concerts.
There are a lot of translation applications available via the iTunes App Store. Some are excellent and some are pretty terrible. Many can help you find your way around town, but none of them to date, however, are as cool as Word Lens. In blending the essentials feature set seen in many iOS translation applications with some basic augmented reality features, Word Lens has changed raised the bar for what both translation and augmented reality applications should be.
That's not to say Word Lens is perfect--far from it, actually. During our testing of the application, we found that the program often had difficulties locking on to the text we wanted it to translate, or worse still, couldn't decide on a single option for what a word should translate to. Looking past the program's short comings, however, we can't help but see a little glimpse of the future here. It has more than a few of us at Mac|Life excited at the prospect of being able to rely on Word Lens during our next trips abroad, or at the very least, into the international food aisle of our local supermarket. If you haven't taken the time to download the application and check it out, we've put together this how-to guide to get you started.