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Word Lens augmented reality iPhone translation app is a Christmas miracle

It's a time for Christmas miracles, and we do love a bit of technology indistinguishable from magic. That's what we thought when we clapped our eyes on translation app Word Lens.

It's the time for Christmas miracles, and we do love a bit of technology indistinguishable from magic. That's what we thought when we clapped our eyes on Word Lens, an augmented reality-style translation app for the Apple iPhone.

The app is similar to the text-recognition and translation features of the already pretty miraculous Google Goggles. As well as translating text seen in front of your phone's camera, Word Lens offers the translation in the same form as the original -- font and all. Here's a video of the app in action...

Our first reaction to this video was to call fake: recognising and translating words is one thing, but matching the font and background is a whole other barrel of monkeys. Yet we tried the app and it works as advertised.

Word Lens goes a little crazy when there's lots of text in front of it, like on paper or a webpage -- it's better suited to small amounts of text such as on signs. It will read text from a computer screen, but can't read stylised fonts.

You also need to hold your phone steady or the app constantly readjusts itself, flicking between the original and translated text. You can freeze a snapshot of the translated text and take it away with you, and there's an orientation lock to adjust to wider text when you flip the phone to landscape mode.

You can manually type in a word to be translated even if the app doesn't recognise the way it's written. You can also zoom in and out and turn the flash on.

Word Lens is free to download from iTunes, with a demo that reverses words. Spanish-to-English and English-to-Spanish translation options can be downloaded separately for £3 each.

It's a Christmas miracle! Feliz Navidad, Cravers!