Books throughout history have been vehicles for knowledge and entertainment. They have influenced entire societies and politics from one country to another. However, books have not always been accessible for everyone. For vast parts of human history, the average human was illiterate and if they could read, they could not read in more than one language. In the 21th century, there is the luxury that many books are already translated into many languages so readers can have the opportunity to read in languages which they are most comfortable with. Here are the five most translated books of all time.
Written in parts, the Bible is a collection of scriptures that are considered to be divinely inspired. There are many versions of parts of the bible that have been translated, but as an entire text it has been translated into 670 languages. The New Testament has been translated over 2200 times and at least one part of the book has been translated 3,312 times. In the bible Hebrew, Aramaic and Koinḗ Greek were used as the original languages of the text. The bible has had a huge influence on Western culture and has influenced many popular writers.
The Adventures of Pinocchio
The Adventures of Pinocchio or Pinocchio is a children’s novel by Carlo Collodi. The story recounts the adventures of an animated marionette called Pinocchio and his father, a wood cutter, called Geppetto. It was originally published in an Italian weekly magazine for children in 1881. In 1883 the Italian story was published as a single book. Pinocchio has been translated into over 300 languages.
The Little Prince
The French novella, published in 1943, has been translated into 300 languages and dialects. It was written by the author Antoine de Saint Exupéry. Although, the book is said to be a children’s book there are many nuanced observations about the nature of life and the human condition that could benefit adults.
What Does the Bible Really Teach?
This book was originally written in English and was published by the Jehovah’s Witnesses. It has been translated into over 272 languages with a newer edition released in 2014. This is a Watchtower publication used by Jehovah's Witnesses in Bible studies. It is succinct, yet thorough, summation of Jehovah's Witnesses' beliefs.
Dao De Jing
Dao De Jing, originally written in Chinese, was written by the Philosopher Laozi in 400 BCE. It has been translated into 250 languages. It is a fundamental text for both philosophical and religious Taoism. It also strongly influenced other schools of Chinese philosophy and religion, including Legalism, Confucianism, and Buddhism, which was largely interpreted using Taoist words and concepts when it was introduced to China.
By translating books, humans are able to discover entire new worlds and new ways of thinking. The translation of books brings the human race closer and celebrates diversity.