Reading a book from one of my favorite authors, Milan Kundera, the other day, I noted that unlike most of his other books, this one was originally written in French. Born in Czechoslovakia, some of his books are in Czech, while others are in French (he moved to France in the 1970’s). I thought this was quite interesting as some books of his that I own are both in Spanish and in English. This got me to thinking about just how rich and diverse the literary world is. Some of the greatest novels of all time were originally written in different languages, and have been translated for the benefit of those interested in expanding their minds. And in fact, some of the most translated books were mostly targeted to children. And so, what are the most famous and well-known translated works in history?
The following list is in no particular order; however, one book does hold the number one spot. Can you guess which one it is?
- Harry Potter is one of the most recent books to be translated into a variety of languages, in fact into about 67 languages. Originally written in English, this book, which is enticing to both adults and children, has become one of the most famous and adored books of all time.
- The Alchemist, originally written in Portuguese, is another of the most recent, best-selling books in history. To date, this book about a young man’s journey to Egypt has been translated into about 60 languages.
- The Adventures of Tintin is another work that has been translated into quite a lot of languages (about 96 of them!). Originally written in French in the 1920’s, this comic is one of the most popular ones to come out of Europe.
- Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is another immensely popular book that, from English, has been translated into about a hundred languages. Written in 1865, this book was later turned into a Disney movie, thus catapulting the story to millions of children worldwide.
- And last but not least, we have come to the most translated, most sold, and most read books of all time. The Bible! A collection of religious texts, there are several versions of this book. Some of the texts were written in Greek, some in Hebrew, and some in Aramaic, and all texts were written in the ancient version of said languages.
So there you have it, a list of some of the most translated books of all time! Are any of your favorite books originally in another language?