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The Bing Translator App uses Augmented Reality Translation to easily translate text.

Whether or not Microsoft is poised to lead the way in the tablet, video game and search engine arenas is still to be determined. But when it comes to language translation technology, the Redmond-based software company is certainly making strides.

We wrote about the company’s potential breakthrough in speech recognition technology a few weeks ago and today Microsoft made its Bing Translator App available for Windows Phone 8. If there’s an app that makes you say “wow,” — and is actually useful — this is definitely one.

There have already been one million downloads for the app, which combines augmented reality with the phone’s camera and speech/text translation so that you can simply place your phone in front of text and translate content immediately. For example, if you’re at a Chinese restaurant in Shanghai, you can just hover your camera over the menu and everything will be translated into English in seconds (see screenshot to the right).

Like I wrote in the previous post, the applications for this technology are endless. Whether it’s a street sign, a food menu or an important business document, this app can be incredibly useful and also eliminate the need for human translators.

UPDATE, 10:10 a.m.: Fixed from “Windows 8,” to “Windows Phone 8.” 

Previously on GeekWire: Microsoft system turns English into Mandarin, in speaker’s voice

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