Most translators can be quite cumbersome, never providing the precise result you need and often leaving you hanging when you don’t quite know the language to begin with. However, with Japan Goggles by LucSens, users can use their camera and Photo Library to translate Japanese characters using the visual recognition technology to convert these symbols into their English counterparts.
Right when you begin, Japan Goggles greets you with a built-in help guide to aid your learning upon initial exploration of the application. The main page, also the main menu, presents all the buttons needed to make the application function: Input Method (Live Camera, Still Photo, Album Photo), History, Settings and About. Settings allows you to turn Google translate on or off, adjust the refresh rate and much more, including turning the help guide off once you’ve mastered the steps. History will display your past translations.
Input Method all depends on what you intend to translate. With the ability to recognize over 3,000 Japanese characters, users can translate basically anything into English with the application’s nearly 200,000 common word entries and 700,000 Japanese proper names. Live Camera mode allows users to use their device’s camera to zoom in on one line of text at a time, cropping out all others to prevent confusion. Drag the corners of the crop box to resize and enjoy instantaneous translation results. (If the refresh rate happens to be too quick for you, set the rate to ‘none’ under settings, then simply tap the cropped image for results instead.) Still Photo mode allows users to simply take a picture of what they want to translate. In all instances, users will obtain the best results if the text appears black on a white background. Album Photo mode utilizes the same process by using photos from your Photo Library. This option is obviously ideal for those using a device sans camera.
Japan Goggles is wonderfully versatile, with the ability to analyze several words at a time in both vertical and horizontal alignment, all without an Internet connection. However, when an application claims that you need no previous knowledge of the given language, one still has to wonder if the translations are indeed accurate, especially considering I do not know any Japanese. To test the application’s accuracy, I found some simple Japanese characters that had already been translated to see if the application would recognize the characters in the same way. After doing so multiple times, each time garnering positive results, I am convinced that Japan Goggles does indeed provide accurate translations exactly as promised, leaving no need to hesitate with the majority of your results.
For a YouTube video demonstration of how Japan Goggles works, click here.
Japan Goggles [iTunes Link] requires iPhone OS 4.0 or later and is compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. A small expedite fee was paid by the developer to speed up the publication of this review.