General Country Information

Language: According to Article 4 of the Constitution “The Latvian language is the official language in the Republic of Latvia”.

Co-official languages: Latvia has no co-official languages or recognised minority languages. In 2012, Latvia held a referendum on making Russian the second state language. A majority of the Latvians voted against. However, many Russian speaking citizens (30+ % of the Latvian population) were in favour of it. Latvia did not sign and ratify the European Charter for Regional or Miniority Language.

Language Strategies:
Between 1999 and today, Latvia has undertaken a number of strategic projects aimed at providing the country with a basic infrastructure for language technology in a digital age. In 2004 the Development of the Latvian Language Corpus was initiated by the State Language Commission.  This has led to the creation of three corpora including a Corpus of Transcripts of the Saeima Sessions. Work on thee corpora is ongoing. It is presumed that this corpus work will help provide a powerful resource base for developing further language technology solutions for Latvian in the years ahead.

Although Latvia is the only Baltic state without a dedicated langage technology programme, specific R&D actions are targeted in the Information Society Development Guidelines 2014-2020 to advance support of the Latvian language in the digital environment (Source: HLT - the Baltic Perspective, 2014). Latvian language resources were collected (text and speech) and in 2010, a Latvian treebank started with ~3700 sentences in 2014 (Source: op.cit). The paticipation in EU funded project fostered the development of resources and tools.

Digital Government: The Latvian government has an affirmative information access policy, which in the case of language involves making automated translation services available for citizens. Notably, the on-going Hugo translation service developed on the occasion of the Latvian presidency of the EU by the local company Tilde.

Latvian LR Stakeholders (LTO Directory)

Latvian Policy Makers (LTO Directory)