London: It could be the perfect tool for bewildered tourists lost in a foreign city.
A remarkable new iPhone application has been developed that instantly translates words viewed through the phone`s camera from Spanish into English, and back again.
WordLens uses the iPhone`s inbuilt camera to recognise text that is viewed through the lens. At the moment it only works with Spanish but further languages are expected to follow.
WordLens uses text recognition to work out what the word or phrase is, and the software translates it into the new language, reports the Daily Mail.
The translation is then pasted over the original location, almost in real time. This means that any English word that is viewed through the iPhone lens is quickly replaced with Spanish and vice versa.
A promotional video for the application which shows it instantly translating a number of signs in both languages has already become an internet hit.
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 as well, that`s incredible."
Not every phrase translated in the app is grammatically correct with mangled English such as `Recent attack of shark` and `Tongue Bolivian with a sauce spicy of anchovies` resulting from literal translations.
But the speed and accuracy of the application`s 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."