The most popular literary works in the world are often translated into various languages to ensure that bookstores all over the world have copies of it and that people all of all cultures and languages are afforded the same opportunity to own a copy in their own language. Often, a text can be translated after finding success in one or two continents, other times because a book is read as controversial or scandalous. Another would be a book’s academic relevance and a need to include such text in school curricula. An even more obvious reason for professional translation services would be due to a book’s historic significance such as religious texts and the classics.
5 of the most translated literary texts in the world according to the UNESCO Index Translationum!
1. The Bible
Originally written in biblical languages of Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, the Bible has been translated into 531 languages as of 2014. Apart from being the most translated book in the world, the Bible also holds the record for being the most read and bought book to date. The Bible consists of two partitions: the Old Testament and the New Testament. Each testament has its respective authors who have contributed many religious texts recounting the history of the Jewish and Christian faiths.
The only non-religious book on this list happens to be the most popular children’s storybook in the world with over 260 language translations. Written by the Italian writer Carlo Collodi, the book follows the story of a puppet boy whose dream is to become a real boy. Pinocchio is known for his nose growing longer every time he tells a lie, and readers are taken throughout an adventure, coming across various characters and action packed moments. Pinocchio has also been adapted into film and theatre versions that continue to entertain crowds to this day.
3. What Does The Bible Really Teach?
Published only in 2005, this text does not come with a specific author and it is another publication of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc., the same publisher behind the other Jehovah’s Witness text, The Watchtower. Covering 224 pages, this book addresses basic and elementary questions regarding the Bible and religion. Its success has been remarkable having a reported 79 million copies printed in over 244 languages.
4. The Pilgrim’s Progress
Written by John Bunyan in 17th Century England, this book is composed of two parts and no chapter divisions. The first part was published in 1678 while the second was finished in 1684. The text centers on a pilgrim’s search for salvation and is regarded as one of the most important religious texts in English literature. Translated in over 200 languages, this read is still culturally relevant today.
5. The Watchtower
The religious group Jehovah’s Witnesses published this magazine, which was first issued in 1879. It was published by Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York Inc. in the United States. Started by Charles Taze Russell, he noted comparisons between the present times and the end of days as found in the Bible as well as other prophecies. The magazine has since then been translated into 228 languages and has an estimated circulation of 42 million copies monthly.
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