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Word Lens App is Like a Magical Visual Babel Fish

Computers have enabled some pretty amazing things. Not too long ago, translating something from one language took the work of someone who was bilingual. Today, we can simply just copy and paste the text into a free online translation tool and you get a reasonably understandable version of the text in another language.

Now with smartphones with cameras, we have a new type of magic. As Arthur C. Clarke said, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." That's what some will think about a new iPhone app called Word Lens, which uses the camera to translate printed word from one language to another.

The current release only has support for Spanish to English and English to Spanish, each language pack costing $5 each. Many more languages are needed before this can become a true universal sort of magic, but it's definitely a very impressive peek into the visual Babel Fish.