We all have literary favourites; books we read time and again. Some classics though have been translated into literally hundreds of different languages, to be enjoyed by as many people across the globe as possible.
Here are the top 10 translated books of all time.
Figures vary as to the number of languages the Bible has been translated into, depending on the statistics being studied. None the less, the figures are impressive whichever way you look at it; at least one book has been translated into 2,883 different languages, the New Testament into 1,329 and the Old and New as a joint translation has been made available in 531 languages.
Listen to God and Live Forever; Watch Tower Society
Some say that this book from the Jehovah’s Witnesses should be at the top of the list; the standard version has been translated into 583 languages as opposed to the whole of the Bible at 531. It’s a topic which is often up for debate, but the result is still the same: a massive global audience.
Universal Declaration of Human Rights; United Nations Commission on Human Rights
A surprising entry for many is this 1948 publication from the United Nations; why would so many people want to read a legislative document? It’s one which affects us all though, and this is why it can be digested in 444 languages plus the original versions in English, French, and Spanish.
What Does the Bible Really Teach?; Watch Tower Society
A second entry for the religious word of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, this book was published in 2005 and is now available around the world in 272 languages.
Pinocchio; Carlo Collodi
In a trivia quiz, it’s unlikely that Pinocchio would be the answer given by many as the most translated work of fiction. It’s true though and since Collodi penned the tale of the little wooden boy, it has been made available in over 260 languages including the original Italian.
The Little Prince; Antoine de Saint Exupery
Another surprise entry for many is this tale from 1943. Originally written in French, it is now read by children everywhere as it can be found in 253 languages.
The Watchtower – Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom
Yet again the readership of this religion shows the global nature of the faith. The Watchtower is a fortnightly magazine and is now printed in 243 languages.
Pilgrim’s Progress; John Bunyan
An iconic piece of Christian literature, Bunyan would no doubt be shocked to find his work of 1678, has now been translated into 200 languages over the centuries.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland; Lewis Carroll
A fantasy story almost everyone has read during their childhood, this story of the white rabbit, the Mad Hatter, and the fairy tale Alice, has fed the imagination of millions in the 174 languages in which it is now available.
Andersen’s Fairy Tales; Hans Christian Andersen
A collection of beautiful stories, Andersen’s Fairy Tales was originally printed in Danish in 1852. Its popularity has grown over the generations and the Ugly Duckling, the Red Shoes and the Princess and the Pea are now available as a set to treasure in 153 languages.