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Afraid of Accidentally Ordering Lamb Testes? There’s an App for That

Take a pic of foreign text, and PicTranslator translates the results.

PicTranslator

If you’ve ever traveled abroad, then you know the terror that comes with ordering from a menu that you can’t read. Will you accidentally order the deer penis, with a side of blanched tobacco leaves?

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With a smartphone, you could use a translation dictionary to decipher each… and … every … word…. But it’s such a pain that it’s easy to skip it altogether, when pressured by a glowering waiter.

So here comes PicTranslator, a $.99 iPhone app that lets you take a picture, and then translate the foreign text in that picture (in all, there are 16 languages currently available):

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After the fact, it’s easy to wonder why this type of app hasn’t existed before–but then again, perhaps the weakest links were processing power and cell-phone cameras. Better processers finally have the muscle to do image-to-text conversion–the sort you readily find in PDF readers–and better pics now provide the necessary resolution.

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According to Eat Me Daily (ahem), there’s still a couple of major bugs: You’ve got to have Internet access of some sort, and there’s still a 10- to 60-second lag in the translation. But as iPhones/smartphones get larger memory stores, we’re thinking this should become a totally offline app sometime soon.

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In the meantime, avoid the testicules de moutons.

[Via Eat Me Daily]

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About the author

Cliff was director of product innovation at Fast Company, founding editor of Co.Design, and former design editor at both Fast Company and Wired.

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