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We’ve Seen the Future And it Is Translated...Instantly

Get ready to be blown away.

You know how in a lot of science fiction characters use a “universal translator” that instantly changes words from alien languages into their own.

Well, now that is read. Word Lens is an app for your iPhone that translates any Spanish or English text your camera can see. Instantly.

Here’s an amazing video showing how it works.

Here’s how LifeHacker, which discovered this for us, describes the experience:

Word Lens is nothing short of amazing. I thought it was fake when I started watching the video. It has to be one of the coolest things I've seen on the iPhone to date. What it does is very simple: you point your iPhone's camera at some text you want translated, and it shows you the translation in real time. In my testing it seemed to work better with printed items than it did with subtitles on the television or text on my computer, but nonetheless it was able to handle both pretty well. It's something you really need to see for yourself, so be sure to watch the demo video above.

Although Word Lens appears to be free when you get to the iTunes App Store, you'll find that it only proves that it works by reversing the order of words or erasing them from your screen. You can add languages through in-app purchases, but currently only Spanish and English are available. Each will cost you $5. If you're an iPhone user in need of translation, however, that price is well worth it. I already understand Spanish and paid the $5 just for the novelty. It's a practical app, but it's also your next great party trick.

Of course, we’re looking forward to future editions. How great would it be to translate Mandarin on the fly?

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