Translating books to different languages is not an easy task, especially when trying to preserve the style and subtitles of the author. Usually the most translated books are religious texts or non-fiction, but this honor has also been reserved for a couple of very popular novels. Modern classics, such as the Harry Potter series and The Da Vinci Code have received many translations, but typically it is older titles that become iconic enough to receive hundreds of translations. Here are just a few examples of books that gained enough popularity in their original language to warrant more than a hundred translations for readers across the globe.
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery (300)
The Little Prince by French author Antoine de Saint-Exupery is not only one of the bestselling books that has ever been published, but has also been translated into 300 languages already. The book was originally published in 1943 and was written in French, but has since been translated to English at least six times as well as numerous other languages. The story, which deals with the narrator crashing his plane in the desert and encountering a boy who claims to be from another planet, continues to enthrall readers of all ages and from different cultures.
Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi (260)
Italian author Carlo Collodi created Pinocchio, probably the most famous puppet in fiction, back in the late 1800s already. Of course, since then the character has gone on to become a cultural icon and has been featured in plenty of other media. The original story, which features a woodcarver creating a puppet that comes to live with dreams of becoming a boy, was also a lot darker than subsequent interpretations, especially the Disney version of the character. With translations to more than 260 languages and counting, it is also one of the most translated books in the world.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (174)
Alice, the protagonist of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by English author Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, is another character that has become iconic enough to feature on many other media. Dodgson, who wrote under the pseudonym of Lewis Carroll, published the book in 1865 and it quickly became a favorite amongst readers, including Queen Victoria. Since then the book has remained in print and received more than 174 translations for other languages. Its sequel, Through the Looking-Glass and what Alice Found There has also received many translations, but not nearly as much as the original.
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea by Jules Verne (148)
French author Jules Gabriel Verne wrote a series of adventure novels during the 1800s, but it is Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea that become one of his most well known and most translated books. The story of Captain Nemo and his advanced submarine, the Nautilus, received its first English translation in 1873, but unfortunately it contained plenty of errors. Thankfully, new researched and fully revised translations have been released in modern times. In total this novel has received close to 150 different translations over the years.