With translated works comprising about 3% of the books released in the United States, it is a major achievement to have a book translated into even one language. Yet, several books have the distinction of being translated into various languages worldwide.
The Holy Bible is among the first and one of the most translated books of all time. It has been translated into 3384 languages till now. There are approximately 611,000 words in the original text, written in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. It is, to date, the most translated text in the world.
The Adventures Pinocchio, written by Carlo Collodi in 1883, is among the ten most translated books. Originally written in Italian, this book has been translated into approximately 300 languages. For years, this tale of a puppet called Pinocchio and his wood-carving father Geppetto has caught the interest of readers worldwide. The novel was the inspiration for several film adaptations, including a new film planned for 2021.
Published in 1865, this book has captivated readers of all age groups. Originally written in English by Lewis Carroll, “Alice’s adventures in Wonderland” has been translated into 174 languages. It has been a great source of numerous adaptations. This story consists of various creatures that Alice encounters during her adventures, such as the White Rabbit, the Cheshire Cat, the March Hare, the Mad Hatter, and, of course, the Queen of Hearts.
The Little Prince is a novella by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, a French aristocrat, writer, and aviator. It is among the most popular children’s books and explores the story of a pilot stranded in the desert who encounters a little prince who explores planets. “The Little Prince” was originally written in French and has been translated into more than 300 languages. As of 2014, over 140 million copies of the book have been sold, and about two million copies are sold annually worldwide.
Published in 1837, Anderson’s stories have been a staple for readers and moviegoers. Translated from Danish into 160 languages, this book consists of many famous Fairy tales, such as The Little Mermaid and The Ugly Duckling, which are not only read by children but have also inspired films, plays, and ballets.
Written by British author J. K. Rowling Harry Potter is a series of seven fantasy books. The books revolve around the lives of a young orphaned wizard, Harry Potter, and his friends Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley, students at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft, in their quest against Lord Voldemort, a sinister wizard. Regarded as the best-selling book series in history, over 500 million copies of the books have been sold worldwide. They have been translated into eighty languages and have spurred a movie series and its related spinoffs.
The Alchemist is an allegorical novel written by Brazilian author Paulo Coelho. It was first published in 1988. Translated from Portuguese into several other languages, this book has become one of the most translated and bestselling novels worldwide. This book follows the story of Santiago, a young Andalusian shepherd, in his quest to find a treasure in the pyramids of Egypt after he has recurring dreams about the place.
Written by Jules Verne in French and published in 1870, this science fiction book has been translated Into 148 different languages. The novel captures the story of Captain Nemo and his epic voyage in his submarine, the Nautilus.
Another Franco Belgian comic series written by René Goscinny, Albert Uderzo, and Jean-Yves Ferri is translated into 115 languages. The series focuses on the Adventures of Gaulish warriors who fought against the Roman Empire during Julius Caesar's period.
Written by Astrid Lindgren, this book was originally written in Swedish and has been translated into 76 languages to date. As part of the collection, along with three short stories and some picture books, there are three chapter books that were written from 1945 to 1948. These stories tell the tales of a young girl who has super-human power with red hair and freckles.
Written in Spanish by Miguel Cervantes, this highly praised novel has been translated into 145 languages. It has been published in 2 parts, the first one in 1605 and the second in 1615. This story is about a nobleman named Alonso Quixano who loses his mind and decides to become a knight with the name of Don Quixote de la Manca after reading several chivalric Romances.
Written by Hergé in French, this book has been translated into over 115 languages. It was later adapted to a comic series that became internationally popular. This Franco-Belgian story is about a young reporter, Tintin, his dog Snowy, and their mind-blowing adventures in various countries.
One of the most important sectors in the translation industry is literary translation because it helps to encourage works of art that will endure for decades, thus forming the cultural structure of the globalized world.
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