Friday, 2 December 2011

Wordictionary iPhone app review

I have been living outside my home country for about 13 years surrounded by languages that are not my mother tongue and that sometimes I don’t even master (Finnish, Swedish, English, Japanese, etc.). There are always times when you would be really happy to have a dictionary in hand and even better, a dictionary where you do not even need to type in the word. This is when Worldictionary iPhone app  from WorldCard comes into the picture. Let’s have a look how.

Worldictionary is not just a multilingual dictionary, but also an optical character recognition (OCR) software. It does not only have the functionality of translating words or sentences, but also of recognizing text from a newspaper, a wall ad, etc.

How does the app look like? This is the main window. It mimics a lens that you might use to zoom text. In the center there is a cross used to point the target word. That word under the cross will be the one translated. You will see on top of the point what the app is translating and then on the right bottom corner you will get some even longer text as well as access to a more detail translation. The app can also recognize a couple of words in a sentence to get a more accurate translation. And one more thing, it also can read the words aloud so you can learn how to pronounce them.

On the top left corner you have a button to change between a conventional dictionary where you type in the words or the lens for character recognition. On the right side, you can enable and disable the flash in the camera.

On the bottom you can find on the left a refresh button, on the center, the translation options (from and to) and on the right side the options (if you want to save pictures taken with the app in the photo gallery). Above the lower bar you have three round buttons, first to use a photo to translate the text on it, second the translation history and third a list of favorite words. You will see in the translation screens option to send the translation by email or SMS.

Where do all the translations come from? The app access online dictionaries (Google and with the last version Bing) to find a translation. There is also options to search for the word in Wikipedia and YouTube right from the app from the different translation views by typing in the > next to the word.

I wanted to put the app to test and I have tried magazines, screen computer and others surfaces. I have to say that the best results I got when the paper was not bended, text was in a straight line and there were not background textures behind the text. I have also tried to translate from a computer screen but I think the camera has problems to focus so you do not get so good results.

Besides the lens screen, you can also take a picture of the text and then, either point with your finger at the word to be translated, or recognize the whole text. Once the text is recognized you can translate it. This can be useful not only to translate, but if you want to convert some text in a picture into pain text to be copied to any other app.

I have to say that I have been positively surprised with the app. It is really nice to have words translated without even having to type them. On the other hand, there are some things I do not like. The main one is the user interface. Font size for instance for the main translation could be bigger. Also, it would be nicer to have a clear area with good visibility dedicated to show the recognized word and the translation. But this is my personal opinion.

As a summary, here it is my like/dislike comments:

What I like:
  • Very useful for instant translations
  • Lots of languages to choose from (not only based on roman characters, but Chinese, Japanese, etc.)
  • Quite quick fetching the translations from Google/Bing

What I dislike:
  • Sometimes not so precise recognizing the words
  • User Interface is somehow not so clean and clear
  • A little bit expensive

If you are always on the go, travelling abroad, this can be right for you. So go ahead and buy your copy from the app store here for $7.99.


1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing the great iPhone app review. I accept your dislike point on "little bit expensive". But moreover it is a useful app.