What are the World’s Most Translated Books?

Reading is important. It works as a catharsis for the people. Readers and scholars take books as a great escape and readers feel great pleasure to take comfort in reading books. There is a fiction and literary collection in almost every language. A lot of books from these get to manage to translate into other books due to their popularity and readership. Not everyone can read English, French Italian, or whatsoever language a famous book is published in. This is where translation plays its role and we get to explore the most translated books in the world. In order to make books available all over the world in the best possible languages and to reach potential readers writers and authors take this initiative where they collaborate with the relevant authorities to translate their books for good.

Here is the list of the most translated books ever that you can buy for better wisdom and insight.

1.  Bible

Bible is the world’s most translated book without a second thought. Whenever it comes to the most translated book in the world bible is there. Bible has been translated into more than 3350 languages and dialects too. Its new testament has over 2000 translations and the old testament is having around 700 translations.

It is reported that Bible was originally written in three languages and these are

  1. Greek
  2. Aramaic
  3. Hebrew

Also, it is estimated that more than 97% of the world’s population has the access to bible translated into a language that people are fluent in and comfortable reading. So in a nutshell, the Bible is the world’s most translated book with more than 6 billion readers all across the globe. It also falls in the books translated into French.

2. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

It is a timeless classic. Alice in wonderland is not only the favorite book of children, it is rather very popular among adults too. Lewis Carrol is the writer of this book and this book was published back in 1865 for the first time. This story revolves around a young girl Alice who lost her way and goes through a rabbit hole only to find herself in a magical world later.

This book was originally written in the English language and has its translated into 174 languages including Arabic, Hebrew, Japanese, Russian, Hindi, and Samoan. Additionally, the book has also been the famous choice of film producers too for cinematic adaptation. The most popular of all is the one directed by Tim Burton.

3. The Adventure of Pinocchio

It is one of the favorite books of kids as well as adults. The story also contains a moral. The writer of this book is Carlo Collodi who wrote the book in the Italian language in 1883. This story talks about a wooden boy who has a habit of lying. The book further includes the adventures of this animated marionette whose name is Pinocchio and about his poor father who is a poor woodcarver and name is Geppeto. Book has its translated into more than 250 languages. So the book is one of those books translated into the English language.

4.  The Little Prince

Children’s books are one of the most translated books as we see in the list. The little prince is a famous storybook. It is a poetic tale and the illustration which have been given inside with watercolor are quite popular among audiences. These children’s story books come in French and were written by the French aristocrat Antonie de Saint. He wrote these poems in 1943. It is interesting to note that little prince is the second most translated book after Bible. It also gets the credit for best foreign books translated into English without any second opinion.

This book talks about a little prince who meets a stranded pilot in the Sahara desert as a result of a plane crash and there is no one as he sees in the desert. This is where this pilot comes across the little prince who is on his journey of exploring the planets of the universe including earth. This book has translations in more than 475 languages now including Greek, Albanian, Turkish and German. It is one of the best-seller books and since 2013 and 140 million copies of this book have gone into readers’ collections.

5.  Tao Te Ching

Tao te ching also read as Dao De Jing is an old and ancient Chinese book with philosophical and moral text which gets attributed to Laozi “the old master”. This book is taken as the fundamental text and both of these philosophical and religious for Taoists. Taoism talks about the balance that humans and animals should share. They believe in spiritual immortality where a spirit reunites with the body after death. This theory and belief have touched a lot of other Chinese philosophies and regions such as Confucianism, legalism, or Chinese Buddhism. Also, it holds the credit to be among those Chinese books translated into English.

Students and researchers often find it tough to understand the title or verse making them dedicate their whole lives to an in-depth study of Tao te ching.

I have the right to destroy myself

6.  The Alchemist

Paulo Coelho who comes from Brazil is a celebrated writer of recent times. The Alchemist has been written by him and is considered an allegorical novel. He wrote this novel back in 1988 in the Portuguese language. This book has been translated into more than 80 languages now.

When it comes to novels, The Alchemist is one of the most translated books and best-selling novels all over the world. It has a rich and inspiring plot. Reading Alchemist is like exploring a world full of adventures with the antagonist Santiago. He is a young shepherd who is on his journey to Egypt with exploring the treasure in the pyramids. He decided to take up this opportunity after having multiple nightmares about this location.

Interestingly, Paulo Coelho has created history and has also managed to get an entry in the Guinness world record for being the author of the world’s most translated books and being alive to see it happening.

Korean and Japanese most translated books

Korean seasons and shows are much in demand and popular among audiences of every age. The same goes for Korean literature. The famous book “I have the right to destroy myself” written by Young-ha Kim is considered Korean noir. It is one of the top Korean translated books. The Los Angeles Times writes about this book as a literary exploration of truth, death, desire, and identity. Interestingly this was the debutant novel of this author and he has already won accolades. His work is also being considered for cinematic release.

As for the Japanese books translated into English, there are a lot. A few of these are

  • Silence by Shusaku Endo
  • I am a cat by Soseki Natsume
  • Norwegian Wood Haruki Murakami

Final words

The practice of translation is not new. It has been there playing a vital role in bridging the gaps in languages and communication for ages. The world’s most translated books include a lot of books from French, Italian, and other languages. Also, a lot of books from Asian languages have been translated into the English language to reach a wider audience. The world’s most translated books include Bible, Alice in wonderland, Little prince, and many more.

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