Creative Europe is an EU program that supports the translation and popularization of contemporary European fiction. In terms of the project, the novel “Breathing into Marble” by contemporary Lithuanian writer Laura Synthia Cherniasukaite, which won the 2009 EU Literary Prize, was translated into Georgian language. Translator Nana Devidze talked about the difficulties of translating Lithuanian literature.

– Ms. Nana, you are the only Georgian who translates books from Lithuanian. What can you say about Lithuanian literature?
– Yes, unfortunately, this is true, only I translate from Lithuanian.  In the past We did not have many people who knew Lithuanian language well. Now there is a generation that enjoys learning foreign languages, but knowledge of the language alone is not enough to translate. The translator must first and foremost be fluent in the native language. They must know and feel the literature. Many people think this is easy, but it is a serious and ,at the same time, very responsible job. I hope that soon someone will appear who, alongside with the knowledge of languages, will have a great love for this work, otherwise nothing will come out. The work must be done with heart, or nothing is it`s value.
Lithuanian literature, in comparison with Georgian, is not fifteen centuries old. The author of the first Lithuanian book is Martina Majidas. It was a religious book, The Catechism, in which the Lithuanian alphabet was first used. The book was published in 1547. The first example of secular literature is the poem “Drone of the Year” by Christona Donelaitis. The author died in 1780, and the poem was first published in 1881. The Georgian translation of this poem belongs to the poet Revaz Margiani.
The Soviet period was very difficult for both the Lithuanian literature and Country as it`s own. This is a very big, interesting and difficult topic and we do not have time or space for it here, but I will lend to the one literary critic and tell you: after the restoration of independence, Nothing can be compared to the the pace of comprehensive, qualitative, substantive or structural, change of Modern Lithuanian literature. The time will show the rest.

You part of the project “Get closer to literary Europe”. What does this project mean for you, and, generally, what is its value?
– Any such project is interesting and necessary. This allows us to follow current processes in European literature. Through translations we get to know each other and we get rich by this process. These projects are especially noteworthy for such small nations as are Georgians and Lithuanians. This project is popularizing (in the current term – advertising) the literature of such small nations and givs them the opportunity to enter a wider arena.  Lithuanians love us very much and we love them too, but this relationship needs food too right? These types of projects provide the best opportunity for mutual understanding.

– What can you tell us about this book “Breathing into Marble”: what is it about and in your opinion, why should the reader be interested in this work? How interesting was it for you to work on this book? In general, I would like you to say a few words about the role of a translator.
– Every literature reflects life. This book also deals with actual life problems. In our time, when we are all in a hurry somewhere, when we no longer have time for communication not only with close friends but also with family, it causes a lack of love. Man is created for love, and when he can`t receive the feelings from others, the problems begin. The book seems to tell the story of a family created with love. I will borrow from Mr. Besik Kharanauli: “Man is born for joy, how can we cry in front of the flowering nature? … If a man looked at a woman like marble, if the feeling of love was lost? I think we must leave the rest to readers.
Laura Cherniauskaite is a famous writer. she graduated from the school in 1994 and published the first collection of short stories in the same year – she was immediately recognized as a very interesting prose writer. This is not my first meeting with Laura. I have translated her stories before. I admit, it was interesting. The text was not easy to translate. Somewhat impressionistic style of narration, unfinished phrases, hints, sudden transitions – it took a lot of work to apply to it and translate it into Georgian. How I handled it? let the reader judge.
The role of the translator, I think, is immeasurable. It depends on him how he will deliver the work to the reader who does not know the original language.  when you read in the original, there’s the writer’s own writing style, which affects the reader emotionally. Language has its great magic. I remember reading François Vignon’s “Testament” translated by Mr. David Tserediani, I was begging everyone: Explain to me, – is François Vignon really so strong writer or Did David Tserediani played the major role in my excitement?! – The same applies to the poetic masterpieces translated by Mr. Tamaz Chkhenkeli. I can`t even describe and praise by words his translation of Federico Garcia Lorca`s “Someone Else’s Wife”. See the translations of Mr. Bachana Bregvadze. We have had and still have brilliant translators. I am grateful to the Fate for giving the chance of mastering this work. In my success the huge role was also played by Zurab Kiknadze, Giorgi Nishnianidze and Mrs. Tamar Eristavi. I am thankful for the fortune that I found myself next to such extraordinary people, as are: Misha Kvlividze, Jemal Ajiashvili, Yura Bakradze, Leri Alimonaki, Gigusha Shakhnazar, who were,  by then,  helping a novice unexperienced translator.
Generally, I love my job very much. When I finish one book I can not even wait to start another. And you know what, is the greatest happiness?  When you are searching something in dictionary and suddenly, forgotten, little word starts smiling at you like a child, the word, which was beyond your attention in the past, but now you realize how much it can hold in itself, suddenly, without your effort it finds its own place in the text and adds charm to the whole translation – Here, then you are very happy. In short, my activity is my delicate, joyful passion. I wish everyone to find their favorite job!

P. S. More information about project can be found on our website: