You might have been hearing the buzz surrounding Word Lens, a ground-breaking translation app for the iPhone and iPod touch. Most translation based applications require you to physically type the text into the application. Luckily, with Word Lens all you have to do is simply hold up your device’s camera to what you would like to translate. The device’s camera reads what you are pointing to, and the app automatically translates the text on-screen.
We’ve been testing Word Lens for the past few days, and we must say that it is really well put together. The functionality and the simple, yet well thought out, design are both present. The application comes with two free modes; reverse modes and erase words. Reverse mode, does just that reverses the words you are showing it. Erase words basically just blurs out the words.
We have also been testing the translations and their accuracy. We aren’t Spanish gurus, but the translations seem to be accurate. Currently, you can only translate from Spanish to English and English to Spanish, however, more languages are being added in the near future.
I would highly recommend this application to anyone who is need of translating things on-the-go (and they might not have internet connection, something that the app doesn’t require), are looking for accurate translations, and can easily figure out an applications’ interface. Word Lens is available from the App Store today.
We got the chance to catch up with one of the developers of Word Lens, Otavio Good and asked him a few questions about the app and his company behind it.
Q: How did you come up with the concept for Word Lens?
A: I had gone on a big vacation, I was in a bookstore in Germany, and I thought – I can’t read these books, why doesn’t my cell phone read this? After getting back from vacation, a programmer friend sat down with me and we looked into what it would take to make work. It turns out it isn’t magic – just computer graphics – and that’s what I’m good at. After making a prototype in a few weeks, I decided it was time to quit Sega and start working on this full time.
Q: Could you tell me more about the team behind the application?
A: Quest Visual, Inc. is based out of San Francisco, CA. There are two people. Otavio Good and John Deweese.
Q: Could you tell me a little bit about your background/life?
A: I have been programming computers since my mom taught me to program when I was in 2nd grade. I’ve programmed video games for my whole professional life until two and a half years ago, when I quit to start Quest Visual. In 2000, me and two friends started up a company called Secret Level that made video games for game systems. We built the company up to about fifty people and in 2006 it was sold to Sega.
Q: How long did it take to develop Word Lens?
A: It took about two and a half years to develop Word Lens from concept to market.
Q: What do you plan on doing next with such powerful technology?
A: Once this technology is out there, we have some ideas for other things we can do with it, and we also expect ideas to come out of the woodwork once people realize that this technology is possible. One obvious idea is to make a reader for blind people.
Q: What languages do you intend on adding to Word Lens?
A: We will probably add English, Spanish, French, Italian, and German.