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Cibo Visualizes Those Foreign Menus

Recently, my wife and I romped around Iceland. We spent a lot of time in Airbnbs, driving through the countryside, and otherwise being on our…

Recently, my wife and I romped around Iceland. We spent a lot of time in Airbnbs, driving through the countryside, and otherwise being on our own. Despite Iceland speaking Icelandic rather than English, it was never a huge problem. The times it did come up though… was when we were eating out. I seriously wish I had Cibo then. Cibo is a simplistic translate app that will show you exactly what is on the menu in a foreign language.

If you’ve ever tried to navigate a foreign menu, you typically need to Google search each word. One by one. On a big menu, this is incredibly annoying and can lengthen a laborious process of choosing an unknown dish to consume. That’s why I love the idea of Cibo so dang much.

The use is very pointed and simple. You just open the app, point it at the menu, and it will use optical character recognition (OCR) to identify words on the menu. It will takes those found words and run a image search, allowing you to actually see the items for your consideration. Each word identified shows up as a separate pill along the top. You can tap on any of those items to see the translated word and an image result or you can merely swipe between them.

Developer Jordi Bruin turned Cibo from an idea into a real product quickly, and relied heavily on native iOS development features to do so. That’s why the app feels so at home on iOS with svelte overlays and support for system-wide dark mode. Other helpful features including choose your preference for Google or Bing image search (let’s be real, you’ll choose Google) and several options for the highlighter color. In dimly lit restaurants, you can toggle the flashlight on within the scanning interface so you actually see what is printed on the menu.

This app is entirely free, making it even more useful for users. The only time you have to pay is to unlock unlimited scans for those extra-long vacations overseas. So next time you’re perusing a non-native menu and can’t decide what to order, try downloading Cibo and bypass the unknown.

But enough about other people's apps.

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