Word Lens is the kind of app that might not get daily use, but when you do fire it up, it can save your bacon with fast offline translations. This is not just any translation app, though. Word Lens uses your device's camera to overlay the text translation using optical character recognition. Well, this app just got a nice little update to version 2.1 with some new features.

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Word Lens now supports Portuguese ⇄ English translations, but it's not included with the app. Word Lens has a slightly confusing payment system. The $4.99 paid version comes with one language pack of your choice. The free version only has a demo mode, and it appears not to have been updated yet. It doesn't come up in searches, so I suspect the developer is trying to move to the paid-only app. In both cases, additional languages can be obtained through in-app purchases. That's a bummer for anyone that bought language packs through the (possibly deprecated) demo. The 2.1 update also brings dedicated translation screenshots, so you can more easily share the app's output.

The last major update added some Holo design, but for some reason the Play Store screen aren't updated. The reviews aren't stellar for Word Lens, but I've found it to work very well after the 2.0 update. The demo version is still accessible via a direct link, but I would advise against buying anything through this version.

Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

He's the author of a sci-fi novel called The Crooked City, which is available on Amazon and Google Play. http://goo.gl/WQIXBM

  • Stacey

    That UI is quite ugly.

  • Xeratun

    The demo version says "We're sorry, the requested URL was not found on this server." for me.

    • RyanWhitwam

      It definitely still works for me. Might be region-specific.

      • Xeratun

        Have you installed it before? I know when Google pulled Listen it was still visible to folks who had ever installed it but not to anybody new. I'm in the US.

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

    One of my favorite apps on Android for the pure technology behind it.

  • Sven L.

    Does it actually work now? I remember when it first came out it barely figured out anything.

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  • Crazydog

    Don't forget that Google Translate can translate from photos too, albeit not in real time. I translated a Japanese instruction manual last week with it, and it worked great.

  • Faust

    Still no Japanese? Still no sale from me then..

    They have been out for long enough to have come out with more language packs. I have no idea why they are taking so long with the Android Version..

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  • David Meckes

    Sven, I remember when it first came out too. I didn't work at all for me. But a few months ago I tried the latest version of it again and it worked very well on my Note 2. I was very impressed and decided to buy it then.