8 Most Translated Books in the World – 2021 Updated Edition
Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
A book is words, ideas, mindsets, advice and knowledge wrapped up into a portable collection of papers. Reading gives us understanding, reasoning, and critical thinking, and helps us to get a growth mindset when learning other disciplines.
Reading is equivalent to having a person speaking to you. Books are a great escape if you need to get a glimpse of dystopian worlds or the human mind.
However, not all books can be read in the language they have been initially written, so to make a book universally available to most people, it is translated to the most spoken languages.
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Why is Literary Translation important?
From fiction and non-fiction to holy writings or comic books, many of them are translated in lot of languages. The most number of books that appear in the list of translated versions are, without surprises, children’s stories.
For cross borders, a book is translated. This is the easiest way to market a book. The more languages are converted, obviously more people would be able to read it.
The work of a translator is not easy at all, as they face many challenges during translation. They need to have a proper knowledge on both languages they are translating. They use their magical way of transforming literature into a different language without losing identity. Sometimes, an original book does not get enough attention, but then lot of people find the way to reading it in translated versions, and because of that it becomes more famous.
The 8 Most Translated Books in the World
It is hard to give a 100% accurate ranking, because in this globalized world, tons of books are translated. Here’s a list of the top most translated books in history by the year 2021:
1. The Bible
Most religious books are translated quickly into many languages to spread them. The Bible has been translated in more than 3300 languages. The Old Testament in more than 2000 and the New Testament in more than 1300! Which makes it, with no doubt, the most translated book in the world breaking all records.
2. The Quran
This is the Holy Book of Muslims. The Quran was revealed by God to the last Prophet Mohammed, through Archangel Gabriel. It was written in Ancient Arabic and has been translated into almost 173 different languages.
It is difficult to know for sure, but according to the 1.8 billion adherents of Islam, which constitutes the second-largest world’s religious group (after christians) and more than 24% of the world population, the Quran is probably the second most translated book in the world.
3. Pippi Longstockings
Leaving religion aside, Pippi Longstocking, named initially as Pippi Långstrump, was created by Astrid Lindgren, a Swedish writer.
This one is a story about a normal little girl who has superhuman powers. Her father is a sailor, and she also has a tiny monkey named Mr Nilsson.
4. The Alchemist
Paulo Coelho is well-known in modern society. His book was translated into more than 80 languages with more than 65 million copies sold. The story starts with a small shepherd boy and his journey that guides him to his treasure through the Arabian Peninsula. Even though the book is about society, time and culture that most people doesn’t experience, but the book is very relatable and healing to those who have faced any hardships in the world
5. The Harry Potter Series
The series has eight fantasy novels that, with his own vocabulary, illustrate the world of magic. It’s a story of a young wizard boy, in his wizard school, with his wizards friends. The trio, popularly known as Harry Potter, Ronald Weasley and Harmonie Granger, fight against the Dark Lord, Voldemort.
J.K. Rowling wrote the first Harry Potter novel, named as Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (later changed to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone). It was published in 1997 and since then it has been translated into more than 60 languages, creating many Potterheads and a whole new fandom.
6. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland has been an attraction to young and old readers since it had been first published in 1865. This is a story of a girl that loses her way and finds herself in a magical world.
Lewis Carrol uses in his book captivating wordplay and exciting plots to keep the readers engaged the longest. It was written in English and is found in almost 174 different languages around the world and is still reading with great affection. Like many other children’s books, this one was also turned in a movie version.
7. The Little Prince
This storybook is famous for the poetic tale and also for the watercolor illustrations that comes with him. The author, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, has done his best to create an amazing world with his art. The story starts with a pilot getting lost in the Sahara Desert and finds a little blonde boy that asks him to draw a sheep. After that starts a story that shows the importance of life. Published in 1943, the book can be found in more than 180 languages and has sold over 50 million copies.
8. The Adventure of Pinocchio
Not only kids also adults are fans of a good story with a moral. Carlo Collodi wrote Pinocchio. It is a story of the small wooden boy who has a habit of lying. This book has been translated in more than 260 languages since it was published in 1883.
Books are an experience that can’t be found in any other form. Ingenious authors work hard to put a great story in front of us. What happens to be your favourite book? Is it famous and has it been translated into other languages?
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