The Department of Official Languages was established on 1st October 1955 for the purpose of implementing the Sinhala and Tamil as official languages. After the passing Official Languages Act of 1956 the activities of the Department of Official Languages are carried out more extensively under the Commissioner of Official Languages.

The 13th and 16th Amendments to the Constitution, respectively in 1987 and 1988 made both Sinhala and Tamil as the Official Languages and English as the Link Language. Accordingly, the Department of Official Languages presently functions as the facilitator to the effective implementation of the Languages Policy as enshrined in the Articles 18 and 19, Chapter IV of the Constitution, and performs the main functions such as providing translation services to the government, improving language skills of public servants and compiling glossaries, language text books and dictionaries.

This Department which comes under the purview of the State Ministry of Public Administration and Home Affairs and headed by the Commissioner of Official Languages maintains its registered office at “Basha Mandiraya”, No 341/7, Kotte Road, Rajagiriya.


“A Trilingual Society enriched with Peace and Harmony”


“To facilitate and coordinate the implementation of the Official Language Policy with the objective of achieving Peace and Harmony”

Functions of the Department

  • Conducting the relevant written and oral tests for officers who are required to obtain official language proficiency as per the Public Administration Circular No: 03/2007 and 07/2007
  • Providing translation services to government and non-government institutions (Sinhala/ English/ Tamil)
  • Compilation of glossaries on various subjects (Sinhala/ English/ Tamil)
  • Compilation of textbooks, supportive books relevant to language proficiency examination
  • Compilation of trilingual dictionaries
  • Conducting Sinhala, Tamil, English and other foreign language classes in a language laboratory fully-equipped with modern technology and conducting examinations
  • Conducting language proficiency examinations and efficiency bar examinations for the staff of external establishments
  • Providing practical training to the students following translation courses at universities and recognized education institutions