Beware: Some words get lost in translation

Going paperless in the new year? Or trying to learn a new language? TextGrabber, a full-featured and expensive app for the iPhone, is designed to let you convert scanned documents to text and even translate them within the app. The app recognizes a wide range of languages, including English, Spanish and Chinese.

The app doesn’t always work as advertised, however, particularly with languages that don’t use Roman characters. In other words, you take your chances. When this app works, it’s great. Users can scan and share the text of printed pages in a snap. But when the app doesn’t recognize words — and it can be hard to take a phone photo as steadily and clearly as the app needs — the items you want scanned can come out as gibberish. $6.99, for iOS and Android.

Hayley Tsukayama