According to Sam and Jim Commenting on things that irk us off, make us laugh out loud or just seem too weird too believe According to Sam and Jim: New phone could be helpful

Friday, August 26, 2011

New phone could be helpful

Cool. While Sam and I were having our cookie and coffee break today, I saw an advertisement in The Wall Street Journal for a new iphone app called Web Lens.

Web Lens lets you point your iphone at foreign words to get a translation. The app, offered by an outfit known as Quest Visual, will instantly translate Spanish into English and English into Spanish. The app supposedly is free at the Apple App Store, but the translation units cost $4.99 each, so to buy the Spanish and English units will cost you $9.98 (free, huh?).

Too bad Web Lens only works on Spanish. I’m imagining pointing my iphone at a poster on a telephone pole in Islamabad and the phone telling me the poster says: “Death to American infidels!” I could live without that

The sign that often befuddles me is the one that says “piso mojado.” You find those on bathroom floors a lot, which I assume means, “Watch out, somebody peed on the floor.” But sometimes you find piso mojado signs in the middle of a grocery aisle and it makes you wonder. Hmmm. Where did I see that woman with the large “companion” dog? What aisle were they in? Fortunately, piso mojado is Spanish.

Boy, if that iphone app could translate Russian and Chinese it might be worth $4.99 per language unit. I can imagine coming across a Russian poster with a big Siberian bear and a half naked woman dressed only in an ermine bikini, and the bear is drinking something from a bottle while the woman sits freezing to death at the bear’s feet. Translated, I bet the poster says, “Drink vodka. It keeps you warmer.”

The translation of a sign near the Great Wall of China might read, “Take a hike.” Another sign might contain a Confucius quote, “Great Wall is long like person who talks too much. It goes on and on and on.”

I can imagine the app translating a North Korean poster with Kim Jong-II standing astride the world holding a bunch of nuclear cruise missile in his hands. The translation probably would say, “How you like this bunch of chopsticks suckas!”

With my luck I’d be checking out the Parthenon or the Roman Coliseum or some ancient architectural wonder and my app would translate a sign in front of me that said, “Keep off Grass.” If I were admiring the Venice canals I can imagine a sign that, when translated said, “Raw sewage, don’t drink the water. “

Hey! Here’s a great use for Web Lens – translate what women really mean when they say things like, “I’m not angry,” or “I said okay,” or “You’re not wearing that are you?”

I’m sure there are other ways that Web Lens can help us too. It would really be a boon to mankind if you could point your phone at your teenager and understand what he or she is saying. Personally, I’d be glad to know if Sam’s bark really means he has to go outside right now.

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