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Every so often, an application comes along that really makes you think how awesome technology can be. ABBYY Textgrabber and Translator for iOS is one of those apps. In short – it’s a mobile OCR package that uses your iOS camera to capture text, in multiple languages. You can then share, save, and translate text.

We have 25 copies of ABBYY Textgrabber and Translator up for grabs this week. Read on to find out more about the app and how you can win a free copy.

Capturing English:

TextGrabber can actually handle a fairly significant block of full page English or European text if the lighting is good and the text consistent. In this example of a full page, the top portion was muddled due the glaring light, but the rest was recognised perfectly. That’s pretty remarkable in my opinion.

For best results, limit recognition to a single paragraph or two, such as you might find in a magazine or newspaper. You also need proper lighting, and a fairly steady hand. It’s perfect for people who like to snip articles out of magazines to give to friends!


The above examples took less than a few seconds to recognise; though foreign languages with more characters to them will take longer.

Once recognised, you can send the text out to an email, message, the usual social options; but also Evernote or a straight Google search, which is nice. Previously recognised text is saved in-app as well, and can be access from the history button in the bottom left. You can delete snippets. If you’re worried about filling up your Photostream with random pictures of text then don’t be – recognition images aren’t saved by default, but you can enable saving if you want.

Other Languages

Textgrabber also claims to support a number of other foreign languages for text recognition. After choosing the right language just scan away. Mixed language recognition is possible, but obviously decreases accuracy. Not wanting to be generous in my testing, I pulled out my Japanese Language Proficiency Test Results card to see how it fared. On short phrases, it recognised with about a 95% accuracy – which is a pretty incredible feat in itself considering there are over 4000 characters in the Japanese language compared to our paltry 40 odd in English (including symbols).

Larger text blocks were understandably difficult, but I can tell you now that even being able to read 4 block compound Kanji phrases would have been incredibly useful to me.


The translation is done automatically using Google Translate rather than a propietary engine – it’s certainly a nice feature to have but is inherently as limited as just using Google Translate online would be. Don’t expect a perfect translation, but it could really help you out in a sticky situation abroad. Of course, if the text you’re translating from has recognition errors, the translation is likely to be muddled – you can edit the text before translation if you notice it.

TextGrabber is an incredibly powerful and frankly amazing little app; my only difficulty is actually remembering to use it instead of cutting up the newspaper!

We’re giving away 25 copies of ABBYY TextGrabber and Translator for iOS. Here’s how to win one for yourself.

How do I win a copy?

It’s simple, just follow the instructions.

Step 1: Fill in the giveaway form

Please fill in the form with your real name and email address so that we can get in touch if you are chosen as a winner. Click here if you can’t view the form.

The giveaway code required to activate the form is available from our Facebook page.

The giveaway is over. Here are the winners:
  • Bob Hazlewood
  • Bonnie L. Snyder
  • Brian Dunlap
  • Charles
  • dan johnson
  • david lucraft
  • Diane binder
  • dotbougen
  • Elissa Lindberg
  • John R. Douglas
  • Judd Nissen
  • Kim Mace
  • Kimberly
  • Linda
  • osman erkul
  • Oyediran Okewuyi
  • Paul Moody
  • Peter Stewart
  • prafull
  • Robert Allen
  • Steven Worwood
  • Ted
  • Terry Converse
  • Virginia Petitt
  • Zakariah Hall

Step 2: Share!

You’re almost done. Now, all that’s left to do is to share the post. There are 2 options to choose from or you can do both!

Like it on Facebook

Or share it on Twitter

This giveaway begins now and ends Friday, March 16th. The winners will be selected at random and informed via email.

Spread the word to your friends and have fun!

Interested in sponsoring a giveaway? We’d love to hear from you. Get in touch with us via the form at the bottom of this page.

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  1. Yama
    March 20, 2012 at 6:07 pm

    When will you announce the winners?

    • Tina
      March 26, 2012 at 8:24 pm

      Winners have been announced. Scroll to the top of the article to see the list.

  2. Dan Wolden
    March 17, 2012 at 3:55 am

    So useful.

  3. akinduro abiodun
    March 16, 2012 at 5:34 pm

    i want to enter

  4. Phritzg
    March 14, 2012 at 8:04 pm

    I like entering your giveaways.

  5. Archie Norris
    March 14, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    Thank you...

  6. robert
    March 12, 2012 at 9:58 pm


  7. MohammadWasiullah
    March 12, 2012 at 6:57 pm

    Thanks makeuseof

  8. Jafar @ Trace Tricks
    March 12, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    Awesome Article !