If the price of Word Lens, the real time translating app, is what kept you away from it, you should be happy to hear that it is now completely free. Google has bought the company behind it, Quest Visual, and made both the app and the in-app language packs free for everyone.
This means that you can now download Word Lens on iOS or Android and then just “buy” all the available languages at the price of $0.00. Once you do that you can start your phone’s camera, point it at text in a foreign language and be amazed at the real time translating powers of the app. It’s important to point out that the tech is not perfect, and some visual errors might occur. Also, it can’t recognize all fonts, and it works best with bigger letters and capitals.
Right now, there are language packs available for English, Spanish, Russian, Italian, German and French, and the translation can go both ways. You can, for example, translate from Italian to English but also from English to Italian using the same language pack.
Word Lens offers some other nice tricks to showcase it’s technology. It can completely erase the words on a piece of paper, or it can reverse the letters in each word. I’ve got to come clean on this: I was blown away a few years back when I first laid my hands on it.
The best part about Word Lens, besides it becoming 100% free? It does not need internet in order to function. This means that you can use the app in a foreign country in order to read signs and menus at restaurants, without paying extra for data roaming. If you plan to go on vacation in a country that speaks the supported languages, be sure to download Word Lens from AppStore or Google Play.