Translation

Ten of the Most Translated Books Across the Globe

Most Translated Books

With translated works comprising only about 3 percent of the published books in the United States,  getting a book translated into even one language is a big success. Yet, some books worldwide have the honor of being translated into numerous languages. Here is a look at some of the most translated books of all time:

The Holy Bible

With portions of it being translated into 3,384 languages, The Holy Bible is the most translated text in the world. The original text that was written in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek has approximately 611,000 words.

The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi

Originally written Italian, The Adventures of Pinocchio has been translated into about 300 languages. Published in 1883, the story about a marionette named Pinocchio and his wood-carving father Geppetto has captured readers’ attention for years. The book was the inspiration for numerous movie adaptations, including a new movie slated for 2021.

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

With 300 translations originating from French, The Little Prince is one of the most treasured children’s books worldwide. The novella tells the story of a pilot who is stranded in the desert and runs into a little prince who explores planets. As of 2014, more than 140 million copies of the book have been sold, and nearly two million copies are sold annually throughout the world.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Since its publication in 1865, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland has captivated readers of all ages. Translated from English into 174 languages, the book has been the source of numerous adaptations. As readers follow Alice’s adventures, they meet the White Rabbit, the Cheshire Cat, the March Hare, the Mad Hatter, and, of course, the Queen of Hearts.

Andersen’s Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Andersen

Andersen’s Fairy Tales has been a staple for countless readers and moviegoers. The book, translated into 160 languages from Danish, includes numerous famous stories, such as “The Little Mermaid” and “The Ugly Duckling.” With the first collection of fairy tales published in 1837, many of the stories have inspired plays, films, and ballets.

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne

Published in 1870, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea is a science fiction book that has been translated into 148 languages. Originally written in French, the novel tells the story of Captain Nemo and his submarine, the Nautilus. In the tale, three men join Nemo on an epic voyage that leads them to the lost city of Atlantis, the South Pole, and the Red Sea.

Don Quixote by Miguel Cervantes

Translated from Spanish into more than 145 languages, Don Quixote is a highly praised novel that was published in two parts, with the first part in 1605 and the second one in 1615. The novel is about the adventures of Alonso Quixano, a noble, who loses his mind after reading several chivalric romances and chooses to become a knight-errant with the name Don Quixote de la Mancha.

The Adventures of Tintin by Hergé

The Adventures of Tintin were originally written in French, before the series of comics became a sensation that was translated into 115 languages. The Franco-Belgian series follows the escapades of Tintin, a reporter, and his dog Snowy as they travel to different countries.

The Adventures of Asterix by René Goscinny, Albert Uderzo, and Jean-Yves Ferri

Another Franco-Belgian comic series, The Adventures of Asterix, also originated in French and was translated into 115 languages. The series focuses on the adventures of Gaulish warriors who battle the Roman Empire during the period of Julius Caesar.

Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren

Translated from Swedish into 76 languages, the Pippi Longstocking books have been a huge success. As part of the series, there are three chapter books that were published from 1945 to 1948, along with three short stories and several picture books. The stories tell the tales of a young girl with red hair and freckles who has super-human strength.

Along with these books, there are countless others that have been translated into numerous languages. Additionally, some books did not become international bestsellers until after they were translated. As such, translating books to other languages can help your publication cross borders and become a hit in other countries.

Summary

Take a look at 10 of the most translated books of all time, including The Holy Bible and several fiction books.

Share your thoughts