Japanese is said by many to be one of the hardest languages to learn, consisting of two alphabets and thousands of kanji characters. It literally takes years to study, with most adults not even able to read certain unrecognizable characters. But now, thanks to an amazing new app by Google, any written Japanese words in front of you can be translated into English, just by placing your phone over the puzzling characters.

On January 26th, Google launched the long-awaited translation app Word Lens in Japanese, instantly making it easier for anyone to read and understand the notoriously difficult language. With Tokyo hosting the 2020 Olympic Games, Japan is preparing to make Japan as tourist-friendly as possible, and this app is just one of the ways. The language barrier is always a concern for anyone visiting Japan for the first time, even though English translations are often included under Japanese characters on street signs, menus, etc., especially in major metropolitan areas. However, Japan is still Japan, and sometimes, there's just no English to be seen anywhere.

With Word Lens, you will never have a problem reading anything in Japan anymore, as the miracle app will translate everything right before your very eyes. Just position the phone at whatever Japanese you need to read, as if you were taking a photo, and your phone will tell you what it says, in English. And of course, the app will do the exact opposite, able to translate English words into Japanese, which is a godsend for Japanese tourists traveling overseas. The best thing is, no internet connection is necessary.

Despite the app being made available to the public, there are still some imperfections. The app isn't perfect, and will start acting goofy if it's made to translate complex writing, but it's basically for tourists that need to read menus, street signs, etc. It's definitely worth it if you're thinking of traveling to Japan and can't speak the language. Or you can just wing it, which is always fun when you're visiting a distant and foreign land. 

Technology is now advancing at such a rapid pace, the day language barriers completely disappear is probably not that far away.