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There are far more businesses trying to get into China than foreign employees willing to learn the basics of Chinese, making any app that helps bridge that gap immediately useful.

As anyone who has ever studied Chinese knows, it’s an onerous language to learn–especially on an empty stomach. That’s where Waygo comes in. The translation iOS app makes life easier for travelers by using optical character recognition to read menu items written in Chinese characters. For a demonstration of how it works, watch Waygo’s video below:

There are other OCR apps out there, including Pleco Chinese Dictionary‘s OCR add-on andCamDictionary. Waygo CEO Ryan Rogowski, however, says his company is targeting a more focused market. His app “is a translator, rather than a dictionary. It looks at a string of characters and gives you a meaningful translation, rather than individual character definitions,” says Rogowski. In addition, Waygo takes up only 8MB on your device, ideal if you don’t feel like installing a full dictionary app.

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Tags: apps, china, translation

Photo credit: "Today's Special" sign at local restaurant in Kunming, China. Steve Evans / Flickr

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