For some people, reading books is an escape from reality. They enjoy being immersed in the magic of a fictional realm or gaining knowledge and ideas from the non-fictional work of a great human mind. But what are the world’s most translated books?
Whatever your choice in books may be, not all books can be read in the language they were initially written. Because of this, translation is a vital factor in making books, novels, or any other literature universally available.
Our Day Translations blog carefully chose this topic, particularly for our book lovers. If you’re still reading that must mean that you’re a bookworm and we guarantee that you’re going to be in for a treat.
Let’s not waste any more time. We’re going to dive right in and bring you along with us as we take a look at some of the world’s most translated books.
A Roundup of the World’s Most Translated Books Originally Written in Foreign Languages
You probably saw this one coming. The Bible is the most translated book in the world and has been translated into approximately 3350 languages and dialects with the New Testament having just over 2000 translations and the Old Testament having around 700 translations.
The Bible was originally written in 3 languages; Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic. Additionally, it is estimated that around 97% of the world’s population has access to the Bible translated into a language in which they are fluent. In a nutshell, the Bible is currently the world’s most translated book and has approximately 6.1 billion readers worldwide.
Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland or Alice in Wonderland as many of us call it, is a timeless classic. The is one of those children’s books that are favored by both children and adults. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was written by Lewis Carrol and was first published in 1865.
This widely popular story tells of a young girl who loses her way when she falls through a rabbit hole and finds herself in a magical world.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was written in English and has been translated into 174 different languages including Arabic, Hebrew, Japanese, Hindi, Russian, and Samoan. The novel has been the inspiration to various film adaptations over the years; the most popular being “Alice in Wonderland” directed by Tim Burton.
The Adventures of Pinocchio
Another children’s favorite and one of the most famous fairy tales, The Adventures of Pinocchio was written way back in the year 1883 by Carlo Collodi. The translated literary works follow the adventures of an animated puppet named Pinnochio and his father, a poor woodcarver named Geppetto.
One unique and memorable feature about this puppet is his nose and that it grows every time he tells a lie. The novel has inspired several movie adaptations. It was originally written in Italian and has since been translated into approximately 300 languages including English, French, German and Spanish. The story of Pinocchio is still popular to this day and remains a hit among children’s fiction books.
The Little Prince
Le Petit Prince or The Little Prince is a novel written by French aristocrat Antonie de Saint- Exupery in 1943. The Little Prince is the second most translated book in the world only after the Bible.
The story of the little prince takes readers on a journey beginning with a pilot whose plane crashes into the Sahara desert leaving him stranded and far away from anyone. This is when the Pilot meets the little prince who is on an adventure to explore the various planets within the universe, including Earth.
The Little Prince is now translated into over 475 languages including; German, Greek, Albanian and Turkish and since 2014, over 140 million copies have been sold to date.
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea
In this classic work of fiction by Jules Verne, Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea is a story that is translated into over 170 languages, after its original French version.
Since its first publication in 1870, this legendary book has not stopped being an international hit and is unquestionably one of the most significant works of classic literature; which is why it is one of the world’s most translated books of all time.
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea’s protagonist, Professor Pierre Aronnax, boards an American warship commissioned to investigate a wave of attacks on international trade by a sea monster.
Later, Aronnax’s ship is sunk by this same alleged sea creature. In actuality however, the ship was actually sunk by the submarine Nautilus. By this time, the professor is imprisoned along with some of the men aboard his warship and this is where they encounter Captain Nemo, an intriguing misanthrope who takes them on a year-long underwater adventure.
A Brazilian novelist, by the name of Paulo Coelho, is responsible for writing the allegorical novel called The Alchemist. The Alchemist was released for the first time in 1988 and since then, this book has been translated from its original language, Portuguese, into roughly 80 other languages.
Alchemist is one of the most translated and bestselling novels in the world and this is so, thanks to its rich and inspiring plot. The Alchemist takes its readers on an adventure following the lead protagonist Santiago. Santiago is a young Andalusian shepherd who is on his journey to uncover a treasure among Egypt’s pyramids after having recurring nightmares about the location.
Fun fact, Paulo Coelho creates history and has accomplished a Guinness World Record for having one of the world’s most translated books while still being alive to witness it happen.
J.K Rowling made history through her telling the story of Harry Potter. The Harry Potter series is possibly one of the most popular stories of this current generation and has gained much traction and popularity especially when the novels took to the big screen.
There are 7 books within the Harry Potter novel series and Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is the most translated book of them all. This book is said to be translated into over 80 languages.
There is a strong uniqueness that comes with each translation of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. We’re talking about the unique cover that each translated version of the book sports.
Of course, it would not be in keeping with the true Harry Potter fans who are part of the Potterverse without them taking the opportunity and collecting the different translations of the books. There are many Harry Potter fans who collect these translations as part of their global adventures.
Andersen’s Fairy Tales
Many of us grew up reading and watching Fairy Tales as children. These Fairy Tales are usually used to teach life lessons in a very creative and fun way. These Fairy Tales come from Hans Christian Andersen. He originally wrote them all in, you guessed it, the Danish language.
In case you can’t quite put your finger on which Fairy Tales were written by Andersen, here are a few.
- The Little Mermaid
- The Brave Tin Soldier
- The Ugly Duckling
- The Emperor’s New Suit
Of course, Andersen’s Fairy Tales comprises over 150 Fairy Tales. Thanks to its major popularity, the stories are available in more than 125 languages today!
The Adventures of Tintin
The Adventures of Tintin is a comic series that grew in popularity. That was until it became a cartoon series and in recent times, a movie. This story is of Franco-Belgian origins with the original series running from 1929 to 1976.
Tintin is an adventurer and reporter who travels the globe with his dog Snowy. His investigative nature always placed Tintin in the middle of very dangerous and life-threatening cases. This is where he uncovered all the fascinating mysteries.
Herge wrote the original manuscript in French. Since then, translators translated it into approximately 115 languages.
Let’s Wrap Up this Translated Book
Many of these books and their stories have played a huge part in most of our childhood and adult lives. And they still continue to do so. It has truly been a treat to experience these novels in our native languages.
The translation of literature and literary works becomes more important than you might think, especially as time goes by. Experiencing a different culture and understanding philosophies and history through works of literature is important. It helps shape experiences that readers have with words. It fosters our understanding and broadens our perspective of the world.
Here at Day Translations, we know the importance of translation and the roles that it plays in our everyday lives. Of course, as a result of this, we are devoted to connecting you with the rest of the world.
We’re Always excited to introduce you to our professional translation and interpreting services. We pride ourselves on being the leaders for all things languages and all things translation.
Visit our website today to enhance your international communication with localized translation service. Let’s do it together!