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…


According to the latest survey by the SFT, the French Society of Translators, over 60% of practising translators had not begun their career as translators (1).

That is our case! What is more, I started out with two: as a journalist and a director of photography.

Journalism taught me to write, to be concise, and to get to the point when writing.

Cinematography and translation may appear to be worlds apart, but a photographic director merely translates the film director’s written instructions and wishes into images. This practice gives us a professional lexical field, and allows us to tackle specialised translations. Cinema, as a total art form according to many critics, covers numerous domains: shooting, painting, music, sound, comedy, matter, narration, architecture. Domains I was confronted with and which I still confront, if only as an informed spectator.

Linking two worlds

Certainly, translation aims to bridge the gap between civilisations. In 2007, I trained as an audiovisual translator at ITIRI (the Institute of translators and interpreters and international affairs of the University of Strasbourg) with the intention of linking the world of images to the world of writing by putting the meaning across: subtitles.

Then, this specialities can be applied to:

  • Digital cinema
  • Photography
  • Sound
  • Computers
  • Health
  • Marketing
  • Mobiles


We can also offer transcription services both in Spanish and French. We lived for many years in Latin America and we travelled across and shared with many people. We know part of the argots  and local accents from different countries (Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Colombia, Uruguay, Ecuador and Venezuela).


file0002000666636Translation does not amount to betrayal. Translating means transposing, adapting, judging, evaluating, weighing up, reconsidering, rereading, rounding up, but also savouring, understanding, reflecting, researching, and all of that in at least two languages…

Translation is the passion and expertise that we readily draw from to put your message across.

No automated translation here, just a human being who uses and learns to use informational tools in order to make the work at hand more consistent and get it done faster, without ever sacrificing quality.

Take a tour of our site to know which tools we use, who trust us for they translation jobs, what are our specialities and to have a quick look of the publications and videos we have worked for.

And if you don’t find all the information you are looking for, do not hesitate to send us a message. We’ll be happy to reply.

Sincerely yours,

Pierre Souchar
La compagnie des mots