Once upon a time, printed reference works kept useful knowledge trapped in libraries, but computers and the Internet changed all that. Now smartphones are doing to desktop PCs what they did to paper books by making that information even more useful by making it even more accessible. One example is Sachith Dassanayake's Sinhala Tamil English Dictionary. This free Android app not only offers an excellent English-to-Sinhala/Sinhala-to English Dictionary and Thesaurus, but it also now supports English-to-Tamil and Tamil-to-English translations. Sinhala (sometimes spelled Sinhalese or Singhalese) is one of Sri Lanka's official languages; Tamil is another. For travelers, business contacts, scholarship, and language learning, it's a great tool to have (literally) in hand.
This app opened with the English-Sinhala Dictionary displayed as well a keypad, search field, and a toolbar accessing a Help file as well as some significant settings. A button labeled Abbreviations brought a useful page of common English abbreviations; we could also view and clear our search history. The dictionary is easy to use. We typed in a common word and received five definitions -- all nouns, including one geographical term, and all rendered in lovely Sinhala script. If you can't read Sinhala or Tamil words, not to worry; the app's settings include an Enable Transliterations option that displays Sinhala or Tamil words transliterated into English. After we enabled transliteration, our Search results displayed both English and Sinhala (or Tamil) script. The Settings also includes a (default) Word Suggestions option. Under Dictionary Mode, we could select English, Sinhala, or Tamil as our dictionary's base language. We could also customize our dictionary's look by changing the background color or the Sinhala or Tamil fonts.
Like most free Android apps, Sinhala Tamil English Dictionary displays ads on its interface, but they're unobtrusive. Voice search makes this free language tool even more versatile since you can simply speak into it to translate words, though it's not a translation engine; it's a dictionary/thesaurus. It won't translate speech or sentences or speak results out loud. But for a versatile, easy-to-use, handheld reference for travelers, scholars, and others, Sinhala Tamil English Dictionary is the tool of choice.