Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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True written language app for the monolingual masses

Changes the keyboard on tablets and smartphones
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[The Alterother] is fully fluent in only one language: English (two, I suppose, if you consider American and Queen's separate). I'm partially fluent in German, Franglaise, and html. I can find the bathroom and/or pick a fight in most romance languages. All of these languages share the same character set (except for the extra letters in German, which are self-explanatory).

Let's say I'd like to translate a written word or phrase from Arabic or Korean using an iPad or another device equipped with a touch- screen keyboard. This app would switch the character set on my keyboard to that of the selected 'from' language, allowing me to hunt and peck until I can reconstruct the word I'm looking at, be it on a street sign in Cambodia, a restaraunt menu in Midtown Manhattan, or the tattoo on some hipster's shoulder.

I've hunted the 'bakery and the web, and the only things I can find that do this are dedicated translation devices, usually ones with physical keyboards that only work with one language. For the purpose of satisfying my abundant yet idle curiousity, I can no more carry around a satchel full of these than a library of ___- to -___ dictionaries. I want an app, dammit!

PS: I couldn't work any mention of rhinoceroses into this idea. My apologies to those who were expecting it. I'll try harder next time.

Alterother, Apr 18 2012

Live Translation http://questvisual.com/wordlens/
[MechE, Apr 18 2012]

Hieroglyphics Universal Translator Hieroglyphics_20Universal_20Translator
[theircompetitor, Apr 18 2012]

Real character http://en.wikipedia...losophical_Language
[not_morrison_rm, Apr 19 2012]

[link]






       They just need to get word lens (see link) to work in more languages/with more character sets, no keyboard required.   

       Otherwise, useful idea.
MechE, Apr 18 2012
  

       Yeah, it's kind of a departure from my usual fare in that respect. This may explain the lack of rhinoceroses.
Alterother, Apr 18 2012
  

       OCR, anyone?   

       There are OCR apps for more languages than just those that use "Roman" alphabets. Surely they'd be more useful than trying to determine which Hebrew symbol you're looking at, in some wacky stylised font that Avram & Sons have chosen for their Kosher Bagel Bar?
UnaBubba, Apr 18 2012
  

       Try the Real Character, no animals were harmed in its making, but possibly a few corpses were. C link.   

       "For instance, Zi identifies the Genus of “beasts” (mammals); Zit gives the Difference of “rapacious beasts of the dog kind”; Zitα gives the Species of dogs."
not_morrison_rm, Apr 19 2012
  

       OCR may be fine for you 21st Century whizbangs, but I'm one of those Luddites whose cell phone is not smart and has no camera, and whose iPad is Original Flavor. The only optical device I carry around with me is an actual camera. Shocking, I know.
Alterother, Apr 21 2012
  
      
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