The Need for More Translated Books

By Rachel Kraft, Marketing Manager

Danica Ellis’ article “The Most Translated Books From Every Country in the World” addresses the dearth of books that are being translated from foreign languages into English. According to Maria Diment who is cited in Ellis’ article, there are two reasons why there are so few books translated into English: 1) a lack of foreign authors’ ties to English-speaking agents and 2) the extraordinary length of time it takes to get books translated into English. It simply takes too long, so the investment is not worth it.

     Preply has a list and a map showing the most translated books by country at ( You may be familiar with some of these titles. You might also be curious about which book has been translated into the most languages. The book with the most translations in the world is a children’s book that was written by a French author: The Little Prince. It has been translated and printed in more than 380 different languages! A close second is Adventures of Pinocchio written by Italian author Carlo Collodi and published in February of 1883. Some other frequently translated books are as follows: 

  • In the Castle of My Skin by George Lamming
  • Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery 
  • To Live is To Love by Ernesto Cardenal 
  • A Bend In the River by V.S. Naipaul 
  • Bambi A Life In the Woods by Felix Salten 
  • Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes 
  • The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien 
  • Prison Diary by Ho Chi Minh 

Do you see any books on this list that have impacted your life?  Books are the gateway to both information and escape, and the right translation and a variety of translations are equally important.  Book translations can ultimately connect us on a global scale. They help us learn about different cultures and find new ways to expand and open our minds. Also, it helps authors from different countries to pick up writing techniques from one another. We need to find more productive, less expensive, and easier ways to connect authors and publishers globally and make book translations more accessible