Meeting of the UNGEGN Working Group on Romanization Systems
Tallinn, 9-10 October, 2006

Romanization of Georgian: implementation of the national system

The information was obtained on a visit to Tbilisi, Georgia on June 14-16, 2006.

It had been reported earlier that the national system of romanization was adopted by the State Department of Geodesy and Cartography in February 2002 jointly with the Institute of Linguistics, Georgian Academy of Sciences. The system was worked out by Mrs. Shukia Apridonidze and Mr. Levan Chkhaidze at the Institute of Linguistics.

It appears that there are only two areas where this system has been implemented. In drivers' permits personal names have been written following this system already since 1998. (But on the contrary, for personal names in passports there are currently no fixed rules and names are written in a casual way.)

The National Library ( has also used this system in their databases and publications of texts (e.g. in the Anthology of Georgian Classical Literature,

The authority that originally approved this system, the State Department of Geodesy and Cartography was reorganized since January 1, 2006 into the Geodesy and Cartography Service, Ministry of Environment Protection and Natural Resources ( with a significantly reduced staff. The former Vice-Chair, State Department of Cartography and Geodesy, Mrs. Nato Gogichaishvili who was the initiator in compiling the instructions for romanizing Georgian geographical names, no longer works at the service. Its new director general, Mr. Irakli Lezhava promised his cooperation in implementing the system into cartographic products but the results are yet to be seen. For the moment no maps have been produced using this system. Earlier it was reported by the Working Group that there were plans to produce 1 : 50,000 map series with romanized names. This was a misunderstanding. In fact there was a map of 1 : 500,00 that was compiled using the national system but unfortunately it still remains unpublished.

As it stands, more time is needed to implement the national system of romanization for Georgian geographical names.

Peeter Päll