App of the Week – Word Lens


I would like to introduce you to one of the most amazing apps I’ve seen in a long time. Word Lens is a language translator – but not just any language translator. With the help of the built in camera on your iPhone or Android smart phone, Word Lens actually translates foreign language in real time!

Photo credit: Apple
Photo credit: Apple

It’s super simple – Just point your phone at a sign or a menu, choose the language you want to translate it into, and watch the words transform before your very eyes! The app seems to have trouble with handwriting or stylized fonts, but most clearly printed text is translatable.  The great part is you don’t need a WiFi connection for it to work, so – as long as your phone has battery power – this app will work anywhere.

This app can be useful in so many different situations, travelling being the obvious one, but how about when you’re trying to assemble that swing set you bought online and the directions are all in Russian? Hurrah for Word Lens! And, yes, Russian is available. Translations are also currently available in Spanish, French, Italian, German, and Portuguese.

Originally developed and owned by Quest Visual, Word Lens was recently purchased by Google and has been made available as a free app to Apple and Android customers for an undisclosed length of time. So, pull out your smart phone, or iPad and download Word Lens now while it’s still free!

App of the Week – Overdrive

OverdriveSo, I don’t know if it’s the same for you, but my commute to and from work can be long and tedious, and I get bored listening to the same old music on the radio every day. On long drives, I always like to listen to an audiobook.

Audiobooks are expensive from the bookstore, so I usually borrow them in CD form from the public library. This was working out very well until recently when the CD player in my car broke and the shop wanted to charge $500 to replace it… So how am I supposed to listen to audiobooks now? Well I learned about a really handy app called Overdrive that can be downloaded to your laptop, iPad, iPod, e-reader, or smartphone. Basically, with this app you can log in to your local public library or your college library and download e-books and audiobooks for your reading and listening pleasure. An added bonus – no lost books, scratched CDs, or late fees!

The Annandale Campus library posted about this a couple of years ago –

Also, here’s the direct link to Overdrive:

If you have any confusion downloading or using the app, I plan to create and post a short step-by-step tutorial video -so watch this space!!

Have fun!