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Instant text translation for iPhone and iPod Touch

It sounds like something out of Star Trek, but this new app translates written messages right before your eyes. The future has arrived.

Word Lens, by Quest Visual, is a new “augmented reality” app for iPod Touch and iPhone. The idea of augmented reality – the idea of overlaying computer generated images on top of a live view of the real world – has been applied to smart phone apps for a little while now and has mostly been used for navigation and marketing gimmicks. Maybe this is the app to bring it in to the mainstream.

The idea is so simple. Just load the app and point your iPhone or iPod Touch camera at the text you want to translate. The text is then translated in real time on the screen. What could be simpler? As the video shows, the effect is done so beautifully that it just seems completely natural.

Currently translating between Spanish and English, the app is free and language packs are separate paid updates. The software runs on your device without needing an internet connection. I’m definitely packing this on my next holiday.