* Before starting, please check our Platform Guidelines.
1. Post-edition at Unbabel
At Unbabel we have a unique approach to translation: each text submitted by a customer is translated by our Machine Translation system, and then corrected by our community of editors in an online platform. By editing the output of the software, the editors ensure the quality of the translations and confirm that the message is accurate (i.e., has the same meaning as the original), fluent (i.e., can be easily understood and sounds natural) and is in line with the style requested by the clients (i.e. respects their register and terminology). In order to help editors do the best job possible, we provide various types of information:
- Customer instructions, which include the identification of the client and his requests to personalize the translation, such as the register that must be used to address the recipient of the message. Following these instructions is vital to deliver translations that match the client’s expectations.
- Glossaries, which correspond to specific vocabulary and expressions used by the client, and that must be respected by the editors.
- Translation Memories, which correspond to stored segments (expressions, sentences or paragraphs) that have previously been translated and accepted for customer usage. They are useful for ensuring consistency across translations.
We also have Smartcheck, which is an application that checks the grammar, morphology, orthography and style of the translations while being edited. By using a large set of rules, Smartcheck flags words or groups of words that may present some kind of issue.
Finally, in order to deliver the best possible translation, we also provide these guidelines about your language specifications. Please, read them carefully and always follow these instructions in your editions.
2.1. Sentence structure
Imperative sentences are used to express someone’s will in relation to a particular action or it can be an encouragement, order, request, prohibition, or invitation. Please note that the imperative does not have tense forms, but it rather has person forms.
Source text: Let’s go to my place!
✘ Iesim pie manis!
✓ Ejam pie manis!
In case of nominal sentences, you should be aware of overly translations (that are quite common in machine translated texts)
Source text: It was after midnight.
✘ Tas bija pēc pusnakts.
✓ Bija pāri pusnaktij.
Agreement errors are frequent in Latvian machine translated text.
2.2.1. Gender, tense, mood (for verbs)
When working with machine translated text please pay close attention to the gender (male/female) which is referred to in the text, since in Latvian it needs to be differentiated.
(If the person referred to in the text is female the verb needs to be aligned accordingly)
Source text: I have already seen this movie.
✘ Es jau esmu redzējis šo filmu.
✓ Es jau esmu redzējusi šo filmu.
In texts where gender neutrality needs to be observed (such as questionnaires, surveys) please remember to keep the gender neutrality in the target text as well so that both genders are addressed.
Source text: I have retired.
✘ Es esmu pensionējies.
✓ Es esmu pensionējies(-usies).
Coordinated and subordinate clauses tend to need revision. Please make sure adjectives and verbs in both parts of the sentence are aligned with the noun they are referring to.
Source text: If you take your child to the cinema for the first time, it should be a really exciting and interesting movie.
✘ Ja Jūs vedat savu bērnu pirmo reizi uz kino, filmai ir jābūt patiesi aizraujošs un interesants.
✓ Ja Jūs vedat savu bērnu pirmo reizi uz kino, filmai ir jābūt patiesi aizraujošai un interesantai.
2.2.2. Gender and number (nouns, adjectives, verbs)
Please ensure adjectives and verbs referring to the respective noun are aligned.
Source text: There is one green box and one blue box standing on the table.
✘ Uz galda stāv viens zaļš kaste un viens zils kaste.
✓ Uz galda stāv viena zaļa kaste un viena zila kaste.
In Latvian, case is usually encoded by means of endings. All Latvian cases, with the exception of the vocative case, can carry different meanings depending on context. Please make sure the case and the prepositions in target texts are correct.
Source text: Go away, Jane!
✘Iet prom, Džeina!
✓ Džeina, ej prom!
A common issue (especially for glossary terms) is that the noun/phrase is kept in the Nominative case instead of getting the right case assignment as per the respective verb or preposition.
Source text: The application is available only for Primary User.
✘Lietojumprogramma ir pieejama tikai Galvenais lietotājs.
✓ Lietojumprogramma ir pieejama tikai galvenajam lietotājam.
Please pay close attention to the use of the tense and make sure the source is correctly reflected in the target text. The future perfect tense in particular may be incorrectly translated to either the present tense or the past tense.
Source text: When the book comes out in printed form, the fans will have already read the book online.
✘ Kad grāmata iznāk drukātā formā, fani jau būs grāmatu izlasījuši tiešsaistē.
✓ Kad grāmata iznāks drukātā formā, fani jau būs grāmatu izlasījuši tiešsaistē.
Latvian also has a particular kind of past perfect indicative (used, for the most part, in colloquial speech, and sometimes in literary and mass media texts) composed of the past tense form of the auxiliary verb tikt ‘to get’ (in all persons) and a declinable past active participle.
Source text: I had already talked about it in the previous meeting.
✘ Par to es jau biju runājis iepriekšējā sanāksmē.
✓ Par to es jau tiku runājis iepriekšējā sanāksmē.
The active voice is used when the subject undertaking the action is mentioned in the sentence, the passive voice is used when the sentence does not mention the person taking the action, but the object of the action is mentioned.
Source text: I must read the article.
✘ Man jālasa šis raksts.
✓ Man ir jāizlasa šis raksts.
Source text: The refund is made to the card holder only.
✘ Atmaksu veic tikai kartes īpašniekam.
✓ Atmaksa tiek veikta tikai kartes īpašniekam.
2.3.2. Determiners (definite, indefinite article)
Please note that neither definite or indefinite articles are used in Latvian. Usually, articles are reflected by modifying the ending of the word to which the article refers to.
Source text: I like the white dress more than the blue one.
✘ Balta kleita man patīk vairāk nekā zila.
✓ Baltā kleita man patīk vairāk nekā zilā.
Personal pronouns (my, your, his etc.) are often used in English, however in Latvian these do not always need to be translated and might be regarded as redundant. Translating personal pronouns in Latvian, might make the sentences sound unnatural and clumsy.
Source text: We will refund the amount you paid while making your purchase.
✘ Mēs atgriezīsim Jums summu, kuru samaksājāt, kad veicāt savu pirkumu.
✓ Mēs atgriezīsim Jums summu, kuru samaksājāt, veicot pirkumu.
2.4. Personal pronouns
Please note that in Latvian the personal pronouns I, you, we, they (LV: es, tu, mēs, jūs) and the reflexive pronoun sevis (-self) lack the category of gender. The reflexive pronoun sevis (-self) is used to indicate that an action is directed back at the agent irrespective of the (grammatical) person of the latter (Skujiņa 2007: 53).
Source text: Sarah bought herself a pair of new shoes.
✘ Sāra iegādājās pati sev jaunu apavu pāri.
✓ Sāra iegādājās jaunu apavu pāri.
Personal pronouns and the possessive pronouns my (LV: mans (mana, mani, manas)) and your (LV: tavs (tava, tavi, tavas)) only refer to humans, while all other pronouns can apply to living beings as well as objects, i. e., their use is not restricted as to animacy. Unlike English Latvian does not have dedicated pronouns for inanimate objects: the pronoun it, they (LV: tas (tā, tie, tās)).
Personal pronouns in Latvian do not need to be translated on all occasions and can be omitted (e.g. you, we), however, this needs to be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Source text: I will reach out to you to inform you more about your recent purchase.
✘ Es ar Jums sazināšos, lai Jūs informētu par Jūsu nesen veikto pirkumu.
✓ Es ar Jums sazināšos, lai informētu par Jūsu nesen veikto pirkumu.
Pronouns used as subject or other verb argument that add no meaning but are syntactically required may be omitted and do not need to be translated in Latvian.
Source text: It’s possible that your order has been sent to the wrong address.
✘ Tas ir iespējams, ka Jūsu sūtījums ir nosūtīts uz nepareizu adresi.
✓ Iespējams, ka Jūsu sūtījums ir nosūtīts uz nepareizu adresi.
In Latvian prepositions are usually combined with nouns or pronouns and Latvian prepositions always come before the word with which they combine.
Source text: Children danced around the Christmas-tree.
✘ Bērni dejoja eglītei apkārt.
✓ Bērni dejoja ap eglīti.
Yet, the prepositions dēļ (due to, because of) and labad (for the sake of) are placed after the noun they refer to,
Source text: The traffic stopped due to heavy rain.
✘ Satiksme apstājās dēļ spēcīga lietus.
✓ Satiksme apstājās spēcīga lietus dēļ.
Abbreviations usually end with a consonant and can be used on occasions when the number of characters is limited for the target text (e. g. posters, advertisements, surveys etc.).
Make sure the abbreviation is clear for the target reader and is commonly used in Latvian.
Source text: Please attach the MS Word doc. before sending the email to Peter.
✘ Lūdzu, pievieno MS Word dokum. pielikumā pirms nosūti e-pastu Pīteram.
✓ Lūdzu, pievieno MS Word dok. pielikumā pirms nosūti e-pastu Pīteram.
In Latvian, acronyms are always written with capital letters and are composed of the initial letters if major parts of a compound term.
E. g. EU (European Union) – ES (Eiropas Savienība)
Source text: Enjoy your rights as a citizen Member State of the EU.
✘ Izmantojiet savas tiesības kā EU dalībvalsts pilsonis.
✓ Izmantojiet savas tiesības kā ES dalībvalsts pilsonis.
Some of the acronyms, e. g. in IT, are not localized by the respective acronym in Latvian, rather the English version is kept. Such as LCD, CD, LAN, URL.
Source text: For detailed information, please use the following URL: xxx.
✘ Sīkākas informācijas saņemšanai, lūdzu, izmantojiet turpmāk minēto VRV: xxx.
✓ Sīkākas informācijas saņemšanai, lūdzu, izmantojiet turpmāk minēto URL: xxx.
Translation in Latvian: URL (vienotais resursu vietrādis or vietrādis URL)
Proper names, people’s names, geographical names are always capitalised in Latvian.
Source text: The capital city of Latvia is Riga.
✘ Latvijas galvaspilsēta ir rīga.
✓ Latvijas galvaspilsēta ir Rīga.
In the case of names of events and headings/titles only the first word is capitalised, unless the first word is a place name, in which case the second word is also capitalised (e. g., Latvijas Valsts nodarbinātības dienests = Latvian State Employment Service).
Source text: The number of unemployed is registered by Latvian State Employment Service.
✘ Bezdarbnieku skaita reģistrāciju veic Latvijas valsts nodarbinātības dienests.
✓ Bezdarbnieku skaita reģistrāciju veic Latvijas Valsts nodarbinātības dienests.
Unlike English, names of nations/nationals, languages, days of the week and names of the months are not capitalised in Latvian, e. g. latvietis (a Latvian), anglis (the English) and krievu valoda (the Russian language).
Source text: Children start learning English at the age of six.
✘ Bērni sāk mācīties Angļu valodu sešu gadu vecumā.
✓ Bērni sāk mācīties angļu valodu sešu gadu vecumā.
When using formal language (official letters, surveys etc.), polite forms of address, the pronouns you (Jums, Jūsu, Jūs) are capitalised.
Source text: Please specify your current occupation.
✘ Lūdzu, norādiet jūsu pašreizējo nodarbošanos.
✓ Lūdzu, norādiet Jūsu (savu) pašreizējo nodarbošanos.
In Latvian, compounds are usually written as one word and pronounced with stress on the first syllable. Compounds are found in all word categories.
3.4.1. Determinative compounds
Based mostly on nominal, verbal or adjectival phrases and are written as one word.
Source text: Jack is participating in the semi-finals.
✘ Džeks piedalās pus-fināla spēlēs.
✓ Džeks piedalās pusfināla spēlēs.
3.4.2. Copulative compounds
Copulative compounds are relatively rare in Latvian, and they are based on the coordinated parts of a sentence.
Source text: Latvian flag is red-white-red.
✘ Latvijas karogs ir sarkans-balts-sarkans.
✓ Latvijas karogs ir sarkanbaltsarkans.
3.5. Foreign words
Brand and product names can be kept in English, but they should be put either in double quotation marks (“_”) or written in Italics.
Source text: REDRESS is a non-governmental organisation in the UK.
✘ REDRESS ir nevalstiska organizācija Apvienotajā Karalistē.
✓ „ REDRESS” ir nevalstiska organizācija Apvienotajā Karalistē.
3.6. Special symbols
When using special symbols in Latvian, e. g. percent (%), degree (°), no whitespace is used, and the symbol is written right after the number.
Source text: The current air temperature is 24°C.
✘ Pašreizējā gaisa temperatūra ir 24° C.
✓ Pašreizējā gaisa temperatūra ir 24°C.
When using currency symbols in Latvian, the amount is followed by the symbol (and must be separated by a space).
Source text: Ben received €300 as a present.
✘ Bens dāvanā saņēma €300.
✓ Bens dāvanā saņēma 300 €.
4.1. How to use punctuation marks
Punctuation plays a supportive role in conveying the voice of the author. If the sentence sounds too complex and clumsy, you can divide it in two or more sentences for the translation to be easy to read and understand.
Most of punctuation marks are followed by a space.
Quotation marks, colons and semicolons, exclamation and question marks are not preceded by a space in Latvian.
A comma is the most often used punctuation mark in Latvian.
Commas are used to separate subordinate clauses from the principal clause.
Pronouns and adverbs may function as subordinating conjunctions (‘what, which’, kurš ‘who, which’, kāds ‘what kind’) and thus need separating by a comma.
Source text: The movie, which I saw yesterday, was brilliant.
✘ Filma kuru es redzēju vakar bija brīnišķīga.
✓ Filma, kuru es redzēju vakar, bija brīnišķīga.
In negative sentences, where the negation is expressed by neither ... nor, a comma is used.
Source text: Neither he nor his friend knows French.
✘ Ne viņš ne viņa draugs neprot franču valodu.
✓ Ne viņš, ne viņa draugs neprot franču valodu.
A comma is used to separate words in an exclamation.
Source text: Oh, I miss you so much!
✘ Ak kā es pēc tevis ilgojos!
✓ Ak, kā es pēc tevis ilgojos!
A comma is used in direct (statements, requests, commands) and indirect speech.
Example (direct speech):
Source text: He said, “I am busy.”
✘ Viņš teica "Es esmu aizņemts."
✓ Viņš teica, "Es esmu aizņemts."
Example (indirect speech):
Source text: He said he had written a letter.
✘ Viņš teica ka esot uzrakstījis vēstuli.
✓ Viņš teica, ka esot uzrakstījis vēstuli.
The particles yes and no are always separated by comma.
Source text: Yes, I have done the homework.
✘ Jā es esmu izpildījis mājasdarbu.
✓ Jā, es esmu izpildījis mājasdarbu.
If two independent subordinate clauses are joined by and/or (un/vai), no comma is used before and/or (un/vai).
Source text: I am married, and I have two children.
✘ Esmu precējies, un man ir divi bērni.
✓ Esmu precējies un man ir divi bērni.
4.2. Punctuation in greetings and closings
In Latvian, exclamation marks must be used after greetings, address in letters/e-mails.
Source text: Dear David,
Thank you for contacting me.
✘ God. Dāvid,
paldies, ka ar mani sazinājāties.
✓ God. Dāvid!
Paldies, ka ar mani sazinājāties.
Register refers to the level of formality used in the text. It shows how our clients address their customers and contributes to the voice of the brand itself. Register may vary depending on the company, the brand, the service they offer, the customers, and the target language.
Register is divided into formal and informal, as shown below.
5.1. Formal register
The formal register is used in texts such as official documentation, public speeches etc.., The formal register is usually impersonal in nature and involves standard use of grammar.
Personal pronoun you (Jūs, Jums) and possessive pronouns your, yours (Jūsu) in formal register refer to the 2nd-person singular, not the 2nd-person plural and are written with a capital letter. Thus, verbs have to be conjugated accordingly and the correct form needs to be used.
Source text: Thank you for your time and for completing the survey.
✘ Paldies par jūsu veltīto laiku un aptaujas aizpildīšanu.
✓ Paldies par Jūsu veltīto laiku un aptaujas aizpildīšanu.
Source text: Please choose the option that describes your situation best.
✘ Lūdzu, izvēlies atbildes variantu, kurš visprecīzāk raksturo tavu situāciju.
✓ Lūdzu, izvēlieties atbildes variantu, kurš visprecīzāk raksturo Jūsu situāciju.
5.2. Informal register
The informal register in Latvian is somewhat more conversational. In the informal register a more frequent use of idioms, figurative language and colloquialism can be observed.
Personal pronoun you (tu, tevi, tevis) and possessive pronoun your, yours (tavs, tavu, tavi) in formal register refers to the 2nd-person singular and is not written with a capital letter. Thus, verbs have to be conjugated accordingly and the correct form needs to be used.
Source text: Choose the option that describes your situation best.
✘ Izvēlieties atbildes variantu, kurš visprecīzāk raksturo Jūsu situāciju.
✓ Izvēlies atbildes variantu, kurš visprecīzāk raksturo tavu situāciju.
Source text: How are you doing?
✘ Kā Jums klājas?
✓ Kā tev iet?
6. Localization challenges
Most of these challenges refer to unique entities, such as persons, places, organizations, brands... or the specific format of dates, addresses and so on.
Languages may adopt different rules regarding whether these units should be translated, reformatted or kept as in the original language. When editing a text, you should follow your language's rules for all different types of units listed below. However, please note that if there is a glossary provided by the client that includes some of them, you should always apply the glossary items.
6.1. Personal names
Persons’ names and surnames should be transliterated in Latvian and the original can be specified in the brackets for avoiding any misunderstandings.
Source text: The author of the book is Jane Green.
✘ Gāmatas autore ir Jane Green.
✓ Gāmatas autore ir Džeina Grīna (Jane Green).
Names of organizations normally should be translated. Before providing your own translation, please check if an official translation of the organization name already exists in Latvian. Please note that this is not applicable to brand names such as Microsoft Office, Paramount Pictures etc.
Source text: I have gratuated from the University of Chicago.
✘ Es esmu absolvējis University of Chicago.
✓ Es esmu absolvējis Čikāgas Universitāti.
6.3. Brands and products
Brand and product names should always be kept in English regardless of the fact that on some occasions there might be equivalents in Latvian that are used in an informal register.
Names of events (concerts, festivals, theater plays etc.), pieces of art should be translated. If this is not possible, they should be transliterated, and the original text should be provided in the brackets.
Source text: My favorite painting is The Scream by Edvard Munch.
✘ Mana mīļākā glezna ir The Scream by Edvard Munch.
✓ Mana mīļākā glezna ir Edvarda Munka „Kliedziens”.
6.5. Acronyms and abbreviations
In cases when the acronym used in the source language exists in Latvian as well, this should be translated and the equivalent in the target text should be used.
If an equivalent in Latvian is not available, please keep the acronym in English and provide a complete translation of it in the brackets for the first time the acronym is used in the text. Thereafter you can use the abbreviation in English.
List of common abbreviations in Latvian:
|English||Latvian||Abbreviation in Latvian|
|Dear xxx, / Highly Esteemed / Honourable||augsti godājamais; augsti godājamā||a. god.|
|Dear xxx,||cienījamais; cienījamā (usually before the name or title)||cien.|
|Euro||eiro (following the amount in numbers)||EUR|
|week||nedēļa (following the number)||ned.|
|this year||šī gada||š. g.|
|including||tai skaitā; to skaitā||t. sk.|
|i. e.||tas ir||t. i.|
|etc.||un tā tālāk||utt.|
|etc. (and others)||un citi||u. c.|
|LS (Locus Sigilli)||zīmoga vieta||z. v.|
List of units of measurement:
|English||Latvian||Abbreviation in Latvian|
|m/s (metres per second)||metri sekundē||m/s|
|km/h (kilometres per hour)||kilometri stundā||km/st.|
6.6. Places and addresses
The names that are equivalent in Latvian must be translated, yet those, which don’t have an approved translation in Latvian can be either kept in English or transliterated.
Source text: The parcel needs to be delivered to 23 Rua Castilho, Lisbon, Portugal.
✘ Paka ir jānogādā uz 23 Rua Castilho, Lisbon, Portugal.
✓ Paka ir jānogādā uz Rua Castilho 23, Lisabona, Portugālē.
6.7. Numeric expressions
Decimals, thousand separators, number ranges, % (use of whitespaces in this case)…
No decimal period is required in years.
Numbers over 4 digits are separated with a space.
Source text: 25.500 employees.
✘ 25.500 darbinieki.
✓ 25 500 darbinieki.
Cardinal numbers (i. e., 1st, 2nd, etc.) in Latvian are to be written with a dot following the number: i. e. 1., 2., etc.
Source text: Winner of the 1st prize.
✘ 1 vietas ieguvējs.
✓ 1. vietas ieguvējs.
6.8. Time expressions
In Latvian, it is recommended to use 24-hour format (use a colon to separate hours from minutes). However, in English, the 12-hour format is preferred.
Source text: The opening hours are 9am to 5pm.
✘ Darba laiks ir no 9 rītā līdz 5 vakarā.
✓ Darba laiks ir no 9:00 līdz 17:00.
6.9. Week days
Unlike English, week days are not capitalized in Latvian.
Source text: The opening hours are from Monday to Friday.
✘ Darba laiks ir no Pirmdienas līdz Piektdienai.
✓ Darba laiks ir no pirmdienas līdz piektdienai.
6.10. Date expressions
Unlike English, month names are not capitalized in Latvian.
The format for writing a date in English is the following: mm/dd/yyyy, however when providing a translation in Latvian the following format is to be used: dd.mm.yyyy (day, month, year).
Source text: 11/23/2006 (November 23, 2006).
✘ 11/23/2006. (2006. gada 23. Novembris)
✓ 23.11.2006. (2006. gada 23. novembris)
When using currency symbols in Latvian, the amount is followed by the symbol (and must be separated by a thin space).
Source text: Ben received €300 in present.
✘ Bens dāvanā saņēma €300.
✓ Bens dāvanā saņēma 300 €.
Do not translate the currency acronyms (e. g. EUR, USD, SEK etc.) as this is a world-wide practice. Please note that in Latvian the amount is followed by the currency acronym (and must be separated by a thin space).
Source text: Ben received EUR 300 in present.
✘ Bens dāvanā saņēma EUR 300.
✓ Bens dāvanā saņēma 300 EUR.
Units of measurement should be kept as per the target text, unless expressly requested by the client to be converted and adapted.
The names and symbols for units of measurement need to be translated in Latvian. An amount is followed by the symbol (and must be separated by a thin space).
Source text: The size of the pillow is 25 cm x 50 cm.
✘ Spilvena izmērs ir 25cm x 50cm.
✓ Spilvena izmērs ir 25 cm x 50 cm.
7. Tricky cases
Close attention needs to be paid to pronouns (e. g. his/her/its) since on some occasions they are needed in English, but would generate an unnatural and confusing translation in Latvian.
Source text: David is taking his daughter to the kindergarten.
✘ Deivids ved viņa meitu uz bērnudārzu.
✓ Deivids ved savu meitu uz bērnudārzu.
In this case viņa would mean someone else’s daughter.
Savu means – his own daughter.
8. Most frequent errors
In Latvian, compound nouns are usually written as one word and pronounced with stress on the first syllable. Compounds are found in all word classes.
Compounds are hyphenated on very rare occasions in Latvian.
Source text: She had a greenish-brown sweater.
✘ Viņai bija zaļgan-brūns džemperis.
✓ Viņai bija zaļganbrūns džemperis.
8.2 False friends
Quite often it can be observed that terms/expressions in Latvian are being replaced by their equivalents in English. Please pay close attention to the presence of false friends in the source text and use the correct translation in Latvian.
|English||Latvian (to be avoided)||Latvian (term used)|
On some occasions false friends might even lead to incorrect translation, which is quite common and can observed often.
Decade = 10 years
Dekāde = 10 days
Source text: The construction of the building is going to be finished within the following decade.
✘ Ēkas būvniecība tiks pabeigta turpmākās dekādes laikā. (The construction of the building is going to be finished within the following 10 days).
✓ Ēkas būvniecība tiks pabeigta turpmākās desmitgades laikā.
8.3. Commonly misspelled words
|English||Latvian (term used)||Comments|
|constant||pastāvīgs||Often confused with patstāvīgs|
|independent||patstāvīgs||Often confused with pastāvīgs|
|something||kaut kas||Not kautkas (in one word)|
|because of you||tevis dēļ||Incorrectly – dēļ tevis (dēļ alwas has to be placed at the end of the sentence)|
9. Useful online resources
English grammar guide
Skujiņa, Valentīna. 1999. Latviešu valoda lietišķos tekstos. Rīga: Zvaigzne ABC.
Skujiņa, Valentīna (ed.). 2007. Valodniecības pamatterminu skaidrojošā vārdnīca. Rīga: LU Latviešu valodas institūts.
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