Most translated texts in the world (December 2021)
The importance of literary translation
By now, we know that translation is the conversion of a text from one language into another. We also know that some text requires a different approach than others. With some text, it is a straightforward and simple process. However, with others, it is a whole different story altogether. An example of such a content type is literary translation. For these types of conversions, we need literary translators that are knowledgeable on the subject matter and style of translation. Literary translations common form of translation in the world.
Literary translation is the single most important method of spreading the written word because it enables people of different languages to experience diverse cultures and expand their minds. Translation allows for creative writing, poems, short stories etc., to be experienced by people of varying languages (people all over the world). This is beneficial because it broadens peoples’ minds about different ways of life and can help them learn more about themselves as well as others.
Literature also helps readers understand things they may not have understood before or gives insight into certain previously unknown topics or ideas. The translation of literary works has been an important part of the arts for centuries. The introduction of concepts, perspectives, milieus and characters to audiences that would not have otherwise had access can be attributed to translators’ hard work and dedication.
This is particularly true in the case of books because it allows us to see different people and situations through a lens we can understand and relate to. It can also help bridge gaps between generations by opening up conversations about the human experience throughout time. Writers often find inspiration from other writers, so it’s only natural that their work should be shared with others as well. This is why literary translation has power.
These translations are often the reason for knowledge sharing over vast periods of time and between societies that may differ completely.
There are many different types of translations, such as word-for-word, line-by-line and paraphrase. Each one has a specific purpose in the world of literature, and its importance should not be taken lightly.
This blog post will look into some of the most translated texts in the world, which are different types of literary translations, so that you may better understand their importance to literature as a whole.
Ten most translated texts in the world
The top 10 most translated texts in the world include classics and modern novels, religious and political texts and believe it or not, cookbooks.
Religious text The most translated texts in the world are primarily religious, with the Bible topping the list.
The most translated book in the world is the Bible, which to date has been translated into hundrends of languages. Originally written in Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic, the complete Bible is available in almost 700 languages and dialects. On Wikipedia’s list of most translated literary texts, the Bible takes up first place. At least one of its books have been translated into 3,384 languages. This is a record that far surpasses any other book. According to the last figures available in 2021, this book has reached 6.1 billion readers worldwide.
This makes it important to remember that translation isn’t just about words - it’s about culture and ideas as well. The Bible may be the most widely written text in history, but there are actually many other types of texts that have also been translated numerous times. These translations were all done over centuries since these texts need to be preserved for future generations to learn from them.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
The United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on December 10, 1948. It was created after WWII to set out the universal values shared by all peoples across the globe. The document has endured for decades, but it is still relevant today. Its goal is to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms for all people regardless of nationality, gender, religion, or any other status. It was an effort to protect these shared values from any future threat or abuse (especially by governments). The UDRHR has persisted through time because it outlines basic rights that everyone should be entitled to; rights like freedom from discrimination, freedom from slavery, etc. The document has been translated into 530 languages and includes 30 articles covering everything from civil and political rights to social and economic ones. It is one of the most translated texts ranging from languages such as Abkhaz to Zulu.
The Little Prince
The Little Prince (Le Petit Prince) is a novella originally written in French and published in 1943, but it has been translated into over 475 languages since then. Making it one of the most translated literary works in the world. Today it is considered a classic of children’s literature and fantasy and won many awards, including Best Translated Book Award for 2013. The author, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, wrote the book for children, but the story’s themes of love and friendship have inspired readers worldwide regardless of their age. As of 2014, over 140 million copies of the book have been sold, and about two million copies are sold annually worldwide. It has recently been adapted to be even more accessible by turning into an animated movie released in 2015 on Netflix. This version follows closely to the original text while also making some small changes so that younger audiences can understand it better.
The Adventures of Pinocchio
The Adventures of Pinocchio is one of the most popular fairy tales ever created and amongst the ten most translated texts in the world. The story originally written in Italian has been translated into almost 300 languages and dialects. Carlo Collodi wrote the book in 1883, but the story itself dates back to 1812, when Carlo used it as part of his puppet show for children. It tells the tale of a puppet called Pinocchio who wants to become a real live human being. Along the way, Pinocchio faces many challenges and temptations while also learning some very important life lessons about making good choices and doing what’s right. Pinocchio and his wood-carving father, Geppetto, has caught the interest of readers worldwide. The novel has also been an inspiration for many film adaptations.
Other children’s books that are amongst the list of most translated works in the world are:
- Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (translated into 174 languages)
- Andersen’s Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Andersen (translated from Danish into over 150 languages)
- Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren (translated into 70 languages) The Adventures of Tintin by Hergé (translated into 115 languages to this day)
“Be Like a Child,” by Sri Chinmoy
“Be like a child” is the most translated poem in the world. Sri Chinmoy, an Indian poet, wrote it, and it’s about how we should remain innocent throughout our lives, even as adults. We must not become jaded or cynical, or negative despite all of life’s challenges that may arise. This poem reminds us to always look at the world with wonder and awe because children do this naturally without effort since they are still very close to their pure souls. According to The Guinness Book of World Records, this six-line poem was translated into 146 languages as part of the Sri Chinmoy Poetry Festival in August 2010.
Harry Potter has been translated into 80 different languages and is one of the most translated series in history. The series of seven fantasy books, written by J.K. Rowling, was initially released in 1997 when it became an instant success. It tells the story of a young wizard, Harry Potter, and his friends Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley as they attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry to learn magic. The books have gained worldwide attention, won multiple awards, and spurred a movie series and related spinoffs. People worldwide have enjoyed these fantasy novels, which has sold more than 500 million copies worldwide, making it one of the best-selling book series in history.
The Adventures of Asterix
Asterix is a French comic book series created by writer René Goscinny and illustrator Albert Uderzo. Asterix, a small but brave and clever Gaulish warrior, is the main character in the comic book series of Asterix. He lives around 50 B.C. in Roman-occupied France with his best friend Obelix, who fell into a cauldron of magic potion as a baby and emerged with superhuman strength. Together they go on many adventures against the Romans to protect their village, which always has hilarious results! The Adventures of Asterix are considered “the most translated comic in the world” because it has now been translated into over 110 languages. This means that people worldwide can enjoy these comics regardless of what language they speak or where they live.
It might not classify as a literary text, but we also felt it important to add the most translated website in the world to the list. Surprisingly, one might think this would be something like Google, Facebook, or Wikipedia. However, this is not the case. The official website of Jehovah’s Witnesses, jw.org, takes this first place in this category. This website boasts an incredible list of 1032 languages to pick from. It also provides publications in more than 750 languages. There are also more than 100 sign languages options available.
Translation is an integral part of any culture, especially when it comes to literature. A good translation can help a work transcend borders and speak the universal language of ideas. Literary translation is one of the biggest sectors in the translation industry.
We specialise in literary translations for all genres, including fiction and non-fiction books. Our translation services can help you find qualified professionals who will work with your budget to translate your text so that it reaches more readers across borders and cultures. To learn more about how we can help you reach new audiences, contact us today!