London: If you are on foreign shores trying to interpret a parking sign or a menu in vain, then an application for Android and iPhone could help you in translation of the printed words with your camera lens.
WordLens uses your phone's inbuilt camera to recognise text that is viewed through the lens, and then translating them to English, from three European languages, namely French, Spanish and Italian.
WordLens uses text recognition to work out what the word or phrase is, and then automatic translation software translates it into the new language. The translation is then pasted over the original location, practically in real time.
The application has been available on the iPhone with Spanish translation for about 18 months, but is now available on both major smartphone platforms with the new range of languages, the Daily Mail reported.
A promotional video for the application which shows it instantly translating a number of signs in both languages has already gone viral on internet. One visitor to technology website Mashable wrote: "This is probably the greatest augmented reality I've seen yet. To add layers and distinguish things is amazing. But photoshop translated words in well, that's incredible."
Not every phrase translated in the application is grammatically correct. But the speed and accuracy of the software is still good enough to make sense of simple road signs or restaurant menus.
Otavio Good, one of the developers behind the WordLens, told TechCrunch: "It tries to find out what the letters are and then looks in the dictionary. Then it draws the words back on the screen in translation."
WordLens bears some similarities to Google's own application called 'Google Goggles', which lets users take a picture of a phrase and then search the web using that word.