EXTRACT FROM THE GAZETTE OF THE SITTING OF THE PREZIDIUM OF THE CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY

23 June 1920

(Ö)

Chaired by Al. Lomtatidze

Secretary K. Japaridze

The discussed issue:

On publication of the law in the language of national minority in addition of the publication in the state language.

(Ö)

Decision: Having heard the conclusion by the legal commission on application of the member of the Constituent Assembly Paul Bulli, the Presidium considers necessary to declare the following:

The Presidium shares the opinion that every law shall be published in the language understandable to each citizen of the country.

But the question comes how to realize this principle Ė to deliver the law to each citizen without any discrepancies.

The Legal Commission considers desirable to publish the laws in a language understandable to national minorities and the Government should organize it.

Of course here we mean translation of the laws into the languages of different minorities residing in Georgia, or into one language that is understandable for all of the national minorities.

The Presidium considers impossible to translate and publishthe laws in several languages.

In order to accept the proposal of the Legal Commission, even if the Ossetians and others will not be taken into account the laws shall be translated at least into three languages: Armenian, Azeri and Russian as there are quite large communities of these nations in Georgia.

It goes without saying that the state agency responsible for translation will not be able to provide correct and accurate translation in Armenian and Azery languages.

Problem is not to find interpreter; the translation shall be checked by the authorized official who will take responsibility for accuracy, as well as for proper interpretation of the provisions.

The Presidium considers that at the current state it will not be possible to find such an official.Without such authorization the translation of laws may lay ground to the misinterpretation of the laws.

As for the Russian language, there is the least impediment in translating.But in this case the major principle, i.e. translation of laws into the language understandable for all of the national minorities will be unfeasible.First of all Russians know the Russian language, also some small groups of Armenians and Azeries, i.e. intelligentsia.But the wider layers of both nations have poor command in Russian and they fail to understand the laws while reading without interpretation into their own language.

Therefore the situation for the most part of the national minorities remains as it was before, i.e. the laws will be published only in the state language.At the same time it should be mentioned that the workers in the city and the farmers in the villages have better command in Georgian rather than in Russian.

As for translating the laws into Russian for Russians and those minorities who speak Russian, the difficulties still exist but itís possible to overcome them.

The major obstacle still is the responsibility for accuracy of the translation.

Itís difficult itself to draw up the clear and comprehended law in original and of course the translation is much more difficult.Therefore translating the laws from one language into another is a risky business.

Itís easy to assume that mistake in translation may lay the ground to misinterpretation and hazy ideas. Consequently we will be facing the breach of legal principles, as well as the deterioration of substantive interests.Who will be responsible for this?Of course the state as the state shall be accountable for the conduct of public officials.

Another practical issue also shall be underlined.

The Georgian legislation is rather young yet and the legal language and legal mentality shall pass the long way until they achieve the necessary form and wording.

If in this process of development simultaneously to Georgian the Russian language will be used, which is already developed in this field and has its form, evidently the Georgian language will be oppressed.

Today many of the legal acts are just translated from Russian original and the alien spirit and Russian mentality are vividly demonstrated there. In Georgian they sound rather strange in a form of questions and answers.

If translating the laws into Russian is obligatory, evidently the laws will be written in Russian and the Georgian original actually will be the translation.

Proceeding from the aforementioned the Presidium concludes that the laws shall be published only in the state language, as it is in practice now.

With this the Presidium underlines that distribution of laws in other languages is the business of private publishers.The National Councils of different nations residing in Georgia may provide a good service to minorities in this issue and the Government should assist the relevant organizations in this endeavour.

Chairman (signed)

Secretary (signed)

(Central State Historical Archive of Georgia, f. 1833, desc. 1, file 726, p. 3-5; ibidem, file 712a, p. 231-233)