Having a mediocre proficiency in the Sinhala language myself, I must say that the times I’ve got lost in translation trying to figure out some unnecessary incomprehensible word spoken to me by a traffic cop or the times I’ve mashed up a good serving of Singlish when giving directions on call to a tuk tuk driver, have far exceed my level of tolerance one too many times.
The launch of “SL Dictionary” aptly named by Arangaya Apps could not have come at a better time, with the overflow of tourists we’ve been having in the country recently. As much as it’d help them understand our language better (or at least find their way around), I think it counters quite well by helping us Sri Lankans understand whatever they may be trying to say as well. Accents of the English language really do have no limit. Anyways, back to the topic of discussion; yes, the app. May not be the best out there, but it sure does fulfill whatever they set out to fulfill; or at least I think so; that is to serve as an effective Sinhala – English translator/dictionary.
In all honesty, I’d say it’s a well thought, and well-built app. There’s no fancy distracting designs spread across or any annoying ads that try to convince me to download the next best game out there, and nothing that asks me to create an account or log in via my Facebook (for the love of god, thank you); but instead it jumps straight to the point. Doesn’t take you more than a minute to figure the whole thing out actually, the interface is quite user friendly; well not like there’s limitless possibilities on how you could complicate a two language dictionary.
The first tab is English-Sinhala, where the app automatically generates the first word for you and shows it under your ‘History’. There’s a search field conveniently located at the top of the screen that quite bluntly says ‘Type English word Here’; to which I humbly complied and gave it a go. It then jumps on to another screen with the typed word highlighted; mine was ‘curious’, because well, you can see why; and a whole list of ‘sinhala theruma’ (Sinhala Meanings) below; my first search jagged up quite a list!
The app also gives you the option of hearing the highlighted English word being pronounced (denoted with the common symbol of a speaker), and also the option to ‘Favourite’ the word with a little star; which gets saved under the ‘Favourites’ tab that is split into mini tabs of both English and Sinhala as expected. The Sinhala – English tab works more or less the same way; counter wise; but really is quite fun to play around with. The user is required to type out the Sinhala word in the search criteria – in English- basically the way it sounds. Mine for example, was ‘Haava’ (rabbit) spelt in that exact way, to which the app then converts the word into Sinhala characters and shows it as you type. In addition, something else that happens as you type is the list of suggested probable words you may be searching (similar to what you would experience on a Google search); which would be quite helpful when it comes to a language you are not familiar with.
The highlight of the app however in my opinion, is the ‘Shake’ tab! Which basically after you pick the language of choice, requires you to do as the name suggests and shake your phone to get a random word. The app then picks a word and offers it to you, to which you can either click the ‘Don’t Like’ button or opt to click the ‘Meaning’ button to which it displays just that. It’s quite a momentary fun option that basically makes the app somewhat of an everyday learning experience to just keep at it and shake your phone to see what the app offers up each time!
Unfortunately, the free trial version only lets you clock up a maximum of Three (3) words each day; but if you’re willing to shoot up a mere 99 cents and purchase the full version; I’d still say it’s a definite value buy. Good going Arangaya Apps, Get Shakin’!
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