Word Lens

A Language Translator

What is it?

Word Lens is an augmented reality translation application developed by an American private company called Quest Visual, Inc that was founded by Otavio Good, a former video game developer, in 2009.

Word Lens instantly translates printed words using a built-in camera, in real-time. There is no network required when using this application, and the translation results appear on your screen whenever and wherever you need it. It even has a built in dictionary to look up specific words in a frame, or to look up alternative translations, if needed. The application was originally created to help tourists read signs and menus, but many individuals have found it to be useful in other ways.

It is a great application that is improving each day, and it has been described as "a sort of magic" by Wall Street journalist, Ben Rooney. Word Lens is definitely worth trying.

Introducing Word Lens


-not too expensive

-easy to use, just like a regular camera

-it has 5 languages available, and they hope to provide more

-this application does not require connection to the internet

-in its default mode, it provides real-time translations

-it can be paused to display a single frame to look up alternative translations for each specific word in a frame.

-it has a built in dictionary to manually type in words that need to be translated

-can save a translation as screen shot to share online

-can be used on many different types of devices

-excellent application for travel and everyday

Word Lens in Action


-it has a free version, but it only contains 2 demo modes: erasing and reversing words

-it provides several languages , but it is not free ($4.99 per language)

-language choices are limited (only 5 languages available)

-translations are not 100% accurate

-not designed to be used on handwritten or stylized fonts

-not designed to read books, but users have used it for limited book translation

-does not save your previous translations

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Educational Purposes

-can be useful in any language classroom

-provides help for ESL students and ESL classrooms

-great tool for exchange students and exchange programs

-useful for student/school travel abroad


-The Ellen DeGeneres Show referred to it as 'amazing'.

-David Pogue, The New York Times journalist, included Word Lens on his list of "the best tech ideas of the year" 2010.

-Articles in the Wall Street Journal and Tom's Guide cited Clarke's Law describing Word Lens: "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic"