Does anyone happen to know if A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess has been translated into Latvian? If so, is there a Latvian word list for Nadsat, the fictional teen slang in the book, and is it available online (even just an excerpt)? The usual suspects (Wikipedia and your favourite search engine) yield no results.

  • Currently (till the end of 2021), it is possible to view online 1990 editions of the youth magazine "Liesma", where "A Clockwork Orange" was first published in Latvian. This page contains the NADSAT vocabulary.
    – Andra
    Commented Jul 2, 2021 at 17:09

1 Answer 1


This is two questions:

  1. Does a Latvian translation of the book exist?
  2. If so, what is the translation of the made-up word Nadsat?

Question 1: yes.

Mehāniskais apelsīns was translated by Silvija Brice and published by Atēna Publishers in Riga in 1999.

The ISBN-10 is 9984635155 and the ISBN-13 is 9789984635156.

Question 2:

The made-up word Nadsat may not have been translated. A comment on a GoodReads review of the book, in Latvian, uses the term Nadsat.

A review and summary of the book in Latvian also uses the term NADSAT.

To be sure, you would want to find the book and inspect it.

Google Books has the bibliographic information but not an electronic copy of the book.

HathiTrust does not seem to have the book either.

WorldCat lists only two libraries with the book, but not all libraries have their information in OCLC.

The National Library of Latvia in Riga seems to have a couple of copies.

The Riga Central Library has the 1999 Atēna edition as well as a 2006 edition published by Mediasat.

You may be able to obtain the book from iBook or MyBook sites for 3–6€.

  • 1
    The question is asking for a "Latvian word list for Nadsat", i.e. not just the Latvian translation of the word Nadsat itself but also for the other invented words in this fictional language.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Commented Nov 1, 2020 at 16:17
  • 1
    Thanks, this takes me one step further, though you slightly misread the second part of my question: I am not looking for a translation of the word nadsat itself, but of nadsat terms like droog, chelloveck/veck, gulliver, to rabbit, horrorshow… Some of these might be challenging to transfer into Latvian and preserve the character of the novel, due to close resemblance with actual Latvian words, either part of a common proto-Balto-Slavic vocabulary, or Slavic loanwords—*galva* or cilvēks come to mind.
    – user149408
    Commented Nov 1, 2020 at 16:18
  • 1
    Actually, the GoodReads comment gives a clue: “ja Nadsat valoda nebūtu kropļota krievu, kur vārdu nozīmi viegli uzminēt (if Nadsat were not distorted Russian, where it is easy to guess the meaning of the words)…” so apparently the translation sticks with the Russian roots for many of the Nadsat terms. Unlike an early Russian translation, which tries to preserve the somewhat cryptic character of Nadsat by using English roots, e.g. droogs become frendy.
    – user149408
    Commented Nov 1, 2020 at 16:32

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.