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The world’s most translated books

How many have you read?

The world’s most translated books

The world’s most translated books 559 316 Keith Carr

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:

 TitleAuthorDateNumber of languagesOriginal language
1The BibleMultiple~800 BCE to 200 CE3,384 (at least one book) 2,191 (at least New Testament) 689 (Old and New Testaments)Hebrew, Aramaic, and Koine Greek
2The Little PrinceAntoine de Saint Exupéry1943300French
3The Adventures of PinocchioCarlo Collodi1883240-260Italian
4Tao Te ChingLaozi400 BCE>250Classical Chinese
5The Communist ManifestoKarl Marx and Friedrich Engels1848>200German
6Alice’s Adventures in WonderlandLewis Carroll1865174English
7Steps to ChristEllen G. White1892>160English
8Don Quijote de la ManchaMiguel de Cervantes 1615>140Spanish
9Andersen’s Fairy TalesHans Christian Andersen1835–1852129Danish
10The Adventures of AsterixRené Goscinny & Albert Uderzo1959–present115 (not all volumes are available in all languages)French
11The Book of MormonSee Origin of the Book of Mormon1830110English
12The QuranSee History of the Quran650>102Classical Arabic
13The Upright Revolution: Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o2016100Gikuyu
14The Adventures of TintinHergé1929–197696 (not all volumes are available in all languages)French
15The Imitation of ChristThomas à Kempis141895Latin
16Harry PotterJ. K. Rowling1997–200780English
17Winnie-the-PoohA. A. Milne192674-145English
18The Diary of a Young GirlAnne Frank194773Dutch
19The Way to HappinessL. Ron Hubbard1980114English
20The Kon-Tiki ExpeditionThor Heyerdahl1948>70Norwegian
21Pippi LongstockingAstrid Lindgren194570Swedish
22The AlchemistPaulo Coelho198870Portuguese
23Sophie’s WorldJostein Gaarder199165Norwegian
24The Adventures of Huckleberry FinnMark Twain188565English
25Nineteen Eighty-FourGeorge Orwell194965English

Source: List of literary works by number of translations (Wikipedia)