Baltic Languages








by Catherine Deschamps-Potter, ICD Translation Vice President of Sales and Marketing

Baltic languages, consisting of Latvian and Lithuanian, are spoken to the east of the Baltic Sea. These languages are highly inflected languages and word order is relatively free. Both languages are based on the Latin alphabet and are supplemented with diacritical marks that differ. Although Latvian and Lithuanian belong to the same language group and are spoken in neighboring countries, speakers of both languages cannot communicate with each other.

On one hand, the Lithuanian alphabet has 32 letters and two dialects. The language and its writing system are mostly phonemic; each letter corresponds to a certain sound. Unlike English, Lithuanian letters keep the same sound regardless of their placement within the word. Lithuanian grammar expresses relationships between words and their role in the sentence through inflection.

On the other hand, the Latvian alphabet has 33 letters and three dialects. A fusional language, Latvian doesn’t follow a set rule for the formation of words. That aspect, coupled with the many other complex grammar rules, makes Latvian difficult to learn and to translate.

The highly inflectional nature of Baltic languages contributes to their overall difficulty when it comes to translation and localization. That’s why it’s so important to refer to a translation agency that uses professional, human translators, who are native-speakers, for your Baltic language translation and localization needs.