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Romanization of Georgian

Updated: 2016-12-30T20:51Z
Mtskheta and Tbilisi romanized

Romanization of Georgian is the process of transliterating the Georgian language from the Georgian script into the Latin script.

Georgian national system of romanization

This system, adopted in February 2002 by the State Department of Geodesy and Cartography of Georgia and the Institute of Linguistics, Georgian National Academy of Sciences, establishes a transliteration system of the Georgian letters into Latin letters.[1] The system was already in use, since 1998, on driving licenses. It is also used by BGN and PCGN since 2009.

Unofficial system of romanization

Despite its popularity this system sometimes leads to ambiguity. The system is mostly used in social networks, forums, chat rooms, etc. The system is greatly influenced by the common case-sensitive Georgian keyboard layout that ties each key to each letter in the alphabet (seven of them: T, W, R, S, J, Z, C with the help of the shift key to make another letter).

ISO standard

ISO 9984:1996, "Transliteration of Georgian characters into Latin characters", was last reviewed and confirmed in 2010.[2] The guiding principles in the standard are:

  • No Digraph (orthography), One latin letter per Georgian letter (apart from apostrophes )
  • Apostrophe ’ - marks aspirated consonants, ejectives are unmarked [eg: კ -> k , ქ -> k’ ]
  • The only extended characters are latin letters with caron (haček) (with the exception of "g macron" ღ -> ḡ )
  • No capitalization, both as it doesn't appear in the original script, and to avoid confusion with claimed popular ad-hoc transliterations of Caron characters as capitals instead. (eg. შ as S for š)

Transliteration table

Georgian letterIPANational system
ISO 9984
Unofficial system
/tʰ/tt't't'T[b] or t
[a]/i/, /j/jyy
/ʒ/zhzhžžJ,[b] zh or j
/pʰ/pp'p'p'p or f
/kʰ/kk'k'k'q or k
/ʁ/ghghġg, gh or R[b]
/ʃ/shshššsh or S[b]
/t͡ʃ(ʰ)/chch'č'č'ch or C[b]
/t͡s(ʰ)/tsts'c'c'c or ts
/d͡z/dzdzjżdz or Z[b]
/t͡sʼ/tsʼtsccw, c or ts
/t͡ʃʼ/chʼchččW,[b] ch or tch
/χ/khkhxxx or kh (rarely)
[a]/q/, /qʰ/q'


  1. ^ a b c d e Archaic letters.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g These are influenced by aforementioned layout, and are preferred to avoid ambiguity, as an expressions: t, j, g, ch can mean two letters.
  3. ^ Initially, the use of y letter for ყ is most probably due to their resemblance to each other.


  1. ^ United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names (2007). Technical reference manual for the standardization of geographical names (PDF). United Nations. p. 64. ISBN 978-92-1-161500-5. Retrieved 7 January 2013. 
  2. ^ ISO 9984:1996, Transliteration of Georgian characters into Latin characters 

External links

  • [1] Transliteration web utility for the National and ISO transliteration of Georgian
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