Georgian Language Students and Translation Projects

 

margaret miller

"I am a historian, not a linguist. The only language I’ve studied before (in school) is Spanish. I wanted to study another language at university, and I chose Georgian because it was unusual.

I started to study Georgian three years ago. Last year, I started working on translating the fables of Sulkhan Saba Orbeliani. I have translated 15 so far, as well as some stories by Goderdzi Chokheli.

Not much Georgian literature has been translated into English, and I didn’t know very much about the literature before starting translation, but through translating it I have come to love it." 

Margaret Miller, Georgian Language Student.

Why Study Georgian?

 

The Georgian language is a fascinating and unusual tongue, unlike any other. Its beautiful alphabet may look daunting at first but students soon become used to it. The key to understanding Georgian life, culture, and society, the Georgian language has helped our students to unlock doors and gain access to this vivid and exciting country and its people.

At Oxford University, the Wardrop Fund, founded upon Marjorie Wardrop’s death in 1909 and extended with bequests from her brother Sir Oliver Wardrop after his death in 1948, makes possible the teaching of Georgian and supports language-related projects.

Here, History student Margaret Miller and translator Ollie Matthews, students from our Georgian language programme, explain what learning the language has meant to them, and how they have contributed to our translation projects.

Our Translation Projects

Our translation projects

Current Project: Orbeliani’s Book of Wisdom and Lies and Travels in Europe

Sulkhan-Saba Orbeliani’s Travels in Europe (1713-1716), of which only the second half survives, has yet to be translated into English. In addition to making this important historical document available for study to English-speaking audiences we believe that a first English translation of this text would make an excellent complement to contemporary translations of fables from Orbeliani’s The Book of Wisdom and Lies (1686-1695).

At present Lia Chokoshvili’s students are working on translations of Orbeliani’s fables, which we intend to publish alongside previous English translations of the fables by Oliver Wardrop and Katharine Vivian.

Dr Geoffrey Gosby will translate Orbeliani’s Travels in Europe. Gosby recently completed his DPhil in Linguistics at Oxford, supported by a Wardrop Scholarship, and he has translated several Georgian projects. We are grateful for the support of Professors Alexander Mikaberidze and Beka Kobakhidze (a former Visiting Georgian Fellow at Oxford), who will assist in the editing of Gosby’s translation. They will also contribute articles to place the translations in their historic context.

An interactive online map of Orbeliani’s travels will be developed by the Rustaveli Foundation’s first visiting Georgian Fellow at the Bodleian Library, Dr Irina Lobzhanidze.

 

Unlocking the Door: Writing from Georgia (Tbilisi: Cezanne, 2017)

Unlocking the Door is the product of two years' work in Georgian translation. The book comprises a number of pieces translated for the first time from Georgian by students of Oxford University: short stories, fairy tales, and plays by Aka Morchiladze (including two works that have never appeared in print before), Guram Rcheuishvili, Lasha Tabukashvili, Erlom Akhvlediani, and Goderdzi Chokheli, in a bilingual, facing-page format. It was published by Cezanne Printing House.