EXTRACT FROM THE GAZETTE OF THE SITTING OF THE PREZIDIUM OF
THE CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY
23 June 1920
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.
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
The Presidium shares the opinion that every law
shall be published in the language understandable to each citizen of the
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
The Presidium considers impossible to translate
and publish† the
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
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
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
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
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
(Central State Historical Archive of Georgia,
f. 1833, desc. 1, file 726, p. 3-5; ibidem, file 712a, p. 231-233)