Worldictionary Is a Translation Powerhouse

Total Score:  28

Worldictionary is not just another language learning app.  It is packed with options and is the kind of app that you start telling your friends about. The coolest feature is the ability use your phone’s camera for word recognition. I’ll explain how that works below. 


Price Rating = 5     $3.99.   I have a trip coming up and I’ve priced various language or translation apps.  This app’s pricing is in the middle of the price range.  Considering it includes many languages and features I think it is priced appropriately – maybe even a bargain. There is a “lite” (free) version which could offer you a good introduction to the app. When I tested the sentence translation for the lite version it did not work well. It worked perfectly with the paid version.

Ease of Use Rating = 5     There are several ways to use the translation features and they are all easy.

 Readability Rating = 5     The fonts are somewhat small on the iPhone, but as readable as any other app and similar in size to a printed language book.

Will You Use It Rating = 4      It’s not something you would use every day, but if you are planning to travel or just want to learn a new language, this will be helpful and, honestly, fun.  It is not optimized for the iPad, but displays nicely in the 2X mode.

 Downsides Rating =   0     The app cannot access the translation feature without WiFi access.  I won’t take any points off for that.  It is just something you need to know.

  Consumer Review Rating = 4     So far there have been over 140 ratings and they are mostly positive.  I know I was impressed by it.

 Why Do You Need This App Rating = 5     If you are planning a trip I think this app is a must-have.  If you just want to start learning a new language or brush up on one you studied years ago, it’s a great way to exercise your brain.

How does it work?

  1. When you open the app you see a magnifying glass. If you center that glass (which connects to your iPhone/iPad camera) over a word it will either recognize it immediately or let you know it is having trouble.  By moving the cross-hair indicator over each letter it will recognize it.  This sounds slow, but it happens very quickly.  If there is not enough light for your picture you can tap the icon in the top right corner to turn on the flash.
  2. By clicking the T icon at the top of the screen you can type in a word.  Once you have the word on the screen you can press the sound button on the bottom of the screen and hear how it is pronounced.  From this screen you can also share the word through email or SMS.
  3. At the bottom of the main screen you have three buttons.  The first allows you to go to your camera and take a picture of a page, sign or menu and then go through it word by word at your leisure.  It can pull up a photo from your photo album, so you can decide to translate something later. I was even able to get it to translate words that I had copied to a piece of paper.
  4. When you have a picture of a page of a book or other text you can choose to translate by sentence (the button is found just above the settings wheel).  When you do that it asks you what language the original text is in then brings up the document and white space below.  You hold one word and then lines come up allowing you to drag the section to the end of a sentence.  It then copies the sentence in the white space and you can hit translate.   You can click the sound buttons to hear it pronounced in either the source or your chosen translation.  You can also share the sentence through email or SMS.
  5. The second icon on the bottom takes you to a dictionary.  This has a list of all the words you have looked up.  It includes any words you researched, not just the ones in the language you are using.
  6. Tapping on the third icon takes you to the words you have bookmarked.  This is a handy way to review the words you researched and, perhaps now have learned.
  7. At the bottom of the screen it shows the language you are translating to or from.  Tapping that brings up the list of languages.  You choose the language you want to translate on the left and your home language on the right.  Then when you go back to the home screen you see an arrow that quickly swaps the direction.  For instance from German to English can be changed to from English to German.
  8. There are 59 languages included. Some you can only translate from English to that language, and not back – like English to Thai.  And, in this case, I couldn’t find any option to pronounce the word.  You  have your choice of using the Google or Bing translation engine and you see different language options with each.  You’ll find the languages you would expect to see English, German, French, Italian and then it builds from there to Russian, Portuguese, Polish, Norwegian, Korean and on and on.
  9. You have the option of clearing all translations from your history screen.  This might be helpful as you master one language and move on to the next.  Or, perhaps, travel from one country to the next.  You can also go through this list, save words to favorites and clear the rest.
  10. There are two in-app dictionaries that can be purchased.  One is Chinese-English and the other Chinese Japanese.
  11. Check out the online product demo.

As I mentioned above, this is the kind of app that you want to recommend to friends.  Within five minutes of testing I was showing it to a co-worker. He said he wished he had it when he was traveling in Mexico.  About an hour later I was talking about cool apps with a friend and showed it off again.  This co-worker said he had just brought a Spanish-English dictionary for his son and was going to get this app too.  This is one of those apps that keeps me saying WOW while I am testing!

I did a thorough test, but I probably didn’t identify all of the functionality.  Download this app, explore and let me know your favorite features.

Devices:  This app is compatible with iPhone (3GS, 4, 4S, 5), iPod touch (4th and 5th generation) and iPad or iPad mini (needs Wi-Fi, WiFi +3G or Cellular).  It requires iOS 4.2 or later.  This app was developed by Penpower, Inc.


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