Have you ever wondered which books have been translated into the most language? As you might expect, these are some of the most popular works of all time. You have likely read many of the following works, and maybe you didn’t even stop to consider that they had been translated. Without translators, we would know very little of the world’s literature.
The following list includes books of all kinds, but only those published by established presses, not self-published translations done by machines translators or unvetted translators.
1. The Bible
The history of translation in the Western World begins with the Bible, which contains many books original written in Aramaic, Hebrew, and Koine Greek. Today, at least one book has been translated into 3,384 languages, the New Testament has been translated into 2,191 languages, and the complete text into 689 languages.
2. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupéry (1943)
One of the world’s most popular works of children’s literature, Le Petit Prince has been translated from French into 300 languages.
3. The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi (1883)
The classic story of Pinocchio, the wooden puppet whose nose grows when he lies, has become a classic proverb across the world. Translated from the Italian into 260 languages.
4. Tao Te Ching by Laozi (c. 400 BCE)
The Tao Te Ching is a Chinese classic text written around 400 BC and traditionally credited to Laozi, a Chinese philosopher and writer. Nonetheless, debate exists about the text’s authorship and date of composition and compilation. The Tao Te Ching is a fundamental text for the philosophy and religion of Taoism.
5. The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels (1848)
This pamphlet was written as the political manifesto of the Communist League, an international political party. Written in German, the prelude states that the document would “be published in the English, French, German, Italian, Flemish and Danish languages.” To date, it has been published in over 200 languages.
The top 25 most translated books:
|Title||Author||Date||Number of languages||Original language|
|1||The Bible||Multiple||~800 BCE to 200 CE||3,384 (at least one book) 2,191 (at least New Testament) 689 (Old and New Testaments)||Hebrew, Aramaic, and Koine Greek|
|2||The Little Prince||Antoine de Saint Exupéry||1943||300||French|
|3||The Adventures of Pinocchio||Carlo Collodi||1883||240-260||Italian|
|4||Tao Te Ching||Laozi||400 BCE||>250||Classical Chinese|
|5||The Communist Manifesto||Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels||1848||>200||German|
|6||Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland||Lewis Carroll||1865||174||English|
|7||Steps to Christ||Ellen G. White||1892||>160||English|
|8||Don Quijote de la Mancha||Miguel de Cervantes||1615||>140||Spanish|
|9||Andersen’s Fairy Tales||Hans Christian Andersen||1835–1852||129||Danish|
|10||The Adventures of Asterix||René Goscinny & Albert Uderzo||1959–present||115 (not all volumes are available in all languages)||French|
|11||The Book of Mormon||See Origin of the Book of Mormon||1830||110||English|
|12||The Quran||See History of the Quran||650||>102||Classical Arabic|
|13||The Upright Revolution:||Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o||2016||100||Gikuyu|
|14||The Adventures of Tintin||Hergé||1929–1976||96 (not all volumes are available in all languages)||French|
|15||The Imitation of Christ||Thomas à Kempis||1418||95||Latin|
|16||Harry Potter||J. K. Rowling||1997–2007||80||English|
|17||Winnie-the-Pooh||A. A. Milne||1926||74-145||English|
|18||The Diary of a Young Girl||Anne Frank||1947||73||Dutch|
|19||The Way to Happiness||L. Ron Hubbard||1980||114||English|
|20||The Kon-Tiki Expedition||Thor Heyerdahl||1948||>70||Norwegian|
|21||Pippi Longstocking||Astrid Lindgren||1945||70||Swedish|
|22||The Alchemist||Paulo Coelho||1988||70||Portuguese|
|23||Sophie’s World||Jostein Gaarder||1991||65||Norwegian|
|24||The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn||Mark Twain||1885||65||English|
|25||Nineteen Eighty-Four||George Orwell||1949||65||English|
Source: List of literary works by number of translations (Wikipedia)