It would have enabled a very good friend of mine to avoid ordering what his rudimentary Spanish determined to be lasagne but was, to his surprise, a hearty-sized serving of tongue in Colombia a few years back.
The clever people at Word Lens have developed an app that translates text live through your phone's camera. Seriously, it's brilliant.
Take a look...
As smart as that is, I can't help but feel a pang of disappointment because, if it really takes off it could spell the end of multilingual signage/menus/instruction manuals.
I know English is a very difficult language to master with its endless irregularities and inconsistent framework. But it's this very characteristic that provides one of the great seredipities of travelling to non-English-speaking countries. Engrish.
I love this example because the English is, in fact, perfect.
So not only would World Lens translate the English into, say, perfect Spanish, it would also deliver a disturbing horror-movie moment to the reader.
Not sure how well it would work with this one...
Still, a big LIKE to Word Lens.