Word Lens reminds me of an old Batman: The Animated Series cartoon. The “Perchance to Dream” was a controversial episode. Batman was trapped in a dream, but he didn’t know it right away. His world was perfect. His parents were alive and everything seemed great. But when he picked up a book, the letters were all messed up. He realized that he had been dreaming because the brain can’t read while sleeping. He was a prisoner of the Mad Hatter. The only way Batman could wake up was to jump off a tower, forcing himself from a deep sleep.
When I first tested the Word Lens app, I felt like I was falling out of reality or like I was dreaming. Except, I did not fall. I did not awake. This wasn’t a dream. It was real. Something comparable to magic was in my possession. Words were being changed before my eyes. My understanding of reality was altered. I thought something like this couldn’t be possible. But now, it is!
Word Lens is not perfect, but it’s incredibly close to alien technology. It’s like something you’d expect to see on an episode of Star Trek. By pointing an iOS camera at letters, Word Lens will spot the words and do it’s best to translate it. When it works, it’s insane.
Once again, Word Lens is not perfect. It even states that clearly in the iTunes App Store description. “It’s not perfect, but you can get the general meaning!” That’s why I can be forgiving. The flaws with this app are apparent and clearly admitted.
What’s impressive is that the app works locally. After language dictionaries are downloaded, the app doesn’t need Internet access to work. That’s great for travel.
However, the available language packs are incredibly limited. At the time of writing, only Spanish to English and English to Spanish were available. Both are in-app purchases, for $9.99 each.
The basic app is free. It doesn’t include any language packs. To prove that the app works, it will reverse or erase words. I had a lot of fun testing it out. I’m looking forward to the inclusion of additional language packs.