Figures on translation (1)

Passionate about translation in all its diversity, we try to keep up to date with developments in the profession and translation needs. Recently, we have been looking at the most translated books.

According to the Musée de l’Homme in Paris, there are 7,000 languages in the world, plus thousands of dialects. Some would be more used than others since 80% of humans use 80 languages and only 20% use the thousand others. Alas, according to UNESCO, half of the languages known in the world today, especially in Amazonia or Papua New Guinea, could disappear by the end of the 21st century.

What is the most translated book?

The Universal Bible Fellowship (UBS), which works to ensure that as many people as possible have access to the Bible in their mother tongue, published its 2017 Report on Access to Scripture in the World on March 8.
According to the report, at the end of 2017, 674 languages, including Klingon, the Star Trek language, had access to the full Bible, 49 more than in previous years.

While according to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is now available in more than 500 languages with the addition in 2016 of Quechua from northern Bolivia.

UNESCO has an online database called “Index Translationum”. This database, created in 1932, lists all the books translated worldwide. Agatha Christie (7,233 translations), Jules Verne (4,751 translations) and William Shakespeare (4,293 translations) are the three greatest translated authors according to recent translation statistics.

Other interesting figures will follow…