Translation Hall of Fame: The Most Translated Books, Most Translated Website and More

Have you ever wondered which book has been translated the most? Or who speaks the most languages, and exactly how many languages they speak? Wonder no more! We’ve put together a “translation hall of fame” to make it easy to find out the answers to these questions and more.  Read on to learn more about translation world records and other notable facts from the world of translation.

What is the Most Translated Book?bible_kralicka

The most translated book in history is the Bible. The entire book is available in 554 languages, which is more than any other book. Even more impressive, parts of the Bible have been translated into 2,932  languages.

It’s no accident, then, that International Translation Day is celebrated every year on September 30th, which is the feast day of the Bible’s first translator, St. Jerome.

What is the Most Translated Non-Religious Book?

The Bible has no competition for the world’s most translated  book. But if you excluded religious texts, the most translated book is Carlo Collodi’s The Adventures of Pinocchio. 

Thanks to Disney, almost everyone is familiar with the story of the wooden puppet  who wants to become a real little boy. Want to read the original? It’s available in your choice of 260 languages. Read more


International Peace Day: How to Say “Peace” in 35 Languages

Did you know that 21 September 2016 is the International Day of Peace? The United Nations has observed this holiday since 1982. I daresay we need it now more than ever. Here’s how people are marking the occasion, and how you can join in.

How the UN Celebrates International Day of Peace

The UN celebrates World Peace Day by ringing the Peace Bell at its New York headquarters. The Peace Bell is a bell made up of melted-down coins that were donated from around the world, from every contintent except Africa. It was given to the United Nations as a gift from Japan in 1954. Japanese characters on its side spell out Long live absolute world peace 世界絶対平和萬歳.

Also, each year’s World Peace Day celebrations have a theme.  The activities for the year are centered around the theme. For 2016, the focus is on achieving peace through the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals.  According to the UN’s Peace Day website:

Sustainability addresses the fundamental needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Modern challenges of poverty, hunger, diminishing natural resources, water scarcity, social inequality, environmental degradation, diseases, corruption, racism and xenophobia, among others, pose challenges for peace and create fertile grounds for conflict. Sustainable development contributes decisively to dissipation and elimination of these causes of conflict and provides the foundation for a lasting peace. Peace, meanwhile, reinforces the conditions for sustainable development and liberates the resources needed for societies to develop and prosper.

Meanwhile, according to UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon:

“The 17 Sustainable Development Goals are our shared vision of humanity and a social contract between the world’s leaders and the people. They are a to-do list for people and planet, and a blueprint for success.”

Read more

star trek languages

The Top 5 Star Trek Languages

This September, we’re celebrating two important birthdays. On the first of the month, K International turned 30. Meanwhile, September 7th was the 50th anniversary of Star Trek.  In honor of the latter occasion, let’s take a look at some of the most memorable Star Trek languages, and the alien races that speak them.


Spoken by: The Klingons TNG-redemption_worf_and_gowron

Klingon is the most famous of the Star Trek languages. It is a fully fledged constructed language, which means it has a set grammar, syntax and vocabulary.  You could learn it yourself, if you wanted to invest the time and impress the opposite gender at your local Star Trek convention.

Learning Klingon is not easy. Although the language only has 3,000 words, it was designed to be as different from most human languages as possible. It is guttural and harsh. And don’t expect it to be appreciated outside of your local Star Trek convention; actors speaking Klingon (as well as those around them) routinely have to have spittle wiped off of them between takes. Apparently, the Klingon race has never heard the saying “Say it, don’t spray it.”

There are an estimated 20-30 people who speak it fluently.  One man actually went so far as to try to raise his son as a bilingual Klingon native speaker, but it didn’t work.

You can read The Epic of Gilgamesh, HamletMuch Ado About Nothing and the Tao Te Ching in Klingon translations, and there is actually a Klingon version of A Christmas Carol. 

Want to learn more? Check out the Klingon Language Institute. Read more

world languages quiz

How Much Do You Know About World Languages?

Do you fancy yourself a language expert? How much do you REALLY  know about languages around the world? Take our quiz on world languages and find out!

Answers are below the fold! Read more

brexit translation industry (1)

6 Industry Experts Tell Translators How to Survive and Thrive After Brexit

Did you expect the UK to vote to leave the EU? The Brexit vote rocked the world in June, and the shockwaves will undoubtedly be felt for years to come.

People in all sorts of industries are now trying to make sense of an uncertain future. The translation industry is no exception. In fact, translators and others in the language services industry have reasons to be wary, as so many translation opportunities depend on international business.

It’s always best to be prepared, but how do you prepare when the future is so uncertain? To help, we gathered six experts in translation and international business to discuss how Brexit is likely to impact the industry and what we can do to stay ahead of the game. Here’s what they had to say.

Uncertainty and Opportunities

Our fearless leader Richard Brooks is the CEO of K International.

He sees uncertainty and some potential problems ahead, but also opportunities.

How do you think Brexit will effect the translation industry?

Short Term Effects

If (and I think this is a big if as leaving the EU is an issue for the law makers) we issue article 50 and leave the EU I see there being several short term effects impacting on the UK translation market.

  • Fall in value of the pound, making what we produce cheaper to big markets such as the USA. However our unit cost is already cheaper than the US market, so I wouldn’t expect to see a huge influx of work.
  • Economic slowdown. The debate is for how long. Looks like the Government wants the economy to be kickstarted again by an entrepreuners. When this happened last time (2008) we saw policies from Government to encourage business to retrain staff and invest in plants and machinery. This may be the end of austerity as the Government has opportunity here to develop something big.
  • Unravelling the law. We’ve been part of the EU for over a generation and lots of our laws are intertwined. This generates an enormous amount of work for the legal services industry … A part of this will (by nature) require language assistance. The big issue is who is going to pay for it all (my belief is that it will run into £billions).
  • Uncertainty during the 24 after we begin the process.  Big business hates this and will delay investment until the time period has passed. Fear of slowdown causes a slowdown.

Read more

summer language news digest (1)

Your End-of-Summer Language News Digest

And just like that, summer is over.  Feeling left behind? Here are 7 interesting stories about language and translation to keep you in the know!

Britney Spears’ French Teacher is Probably Dying of Shame Right Now 

8514687036_83acba7062_bSo, this week Britney Spears released a new album. One of the songs, “Coupure Electrique,” is sung entirely in French. How sophisticated! Except she obviously didn’t get a French translator to help with the lyrics. To quote Bustle,

“The French lyrics in this track are not actually grammatically correct, so a direct translation would result in English lyrics that actually don’t really make that much sense.”

But if you’re interested in what she’s trying to say, Bustle does a good job of trying to parse the lyrics into understandable English.

United States Finally Settles on a Spanish Translation of the Miranda Warning

26682691294_385a8a19c4_bIf you’ve watched an American cop show, you’ve heard it: The Miranda warning, which advises suspects being placed under arrest that they have the right to remain silent, the right to an attorney, etc.

But if what if the suspect doesn’t speak English? The US now has the world’s second-largest population of Spanish speakers. Only Mexico has more. But until this month, the US did not have a standard translation of the Miranda warning. And that has caused all sorts of problems. According to Vice, there have been “dozens of instances of bad translations, including the use of Spanglish, and completely made-up Spanish words like “silento.” (The Spanish word for silent is “silencio.”)

Finally, a half-century after the Miranda warning became the law of the land and standard police operating procedure, the American Bar associaton has voted to create a standard Spanish-language Miranda warning.  Read more

international business failures

3 Notable International Business Failures to Learn From

Conquering a new international market can be tricky. Even the largest companies make mistakes — and you can learn from them. For example, here are 3 times big brands tried to expand into new countries, only to come limping back. Let’s see what lessons we can take from these international business failures.

Starbucks in Israel


With more than 24,000 stores in 70 countries, Starbucks is no stranger to international business.  But their attempt at expanding into Israel was not quite so successful. The first Starbucks in Israel opened in Tel Aviv in 2001. The plan was to open 20 Israeli stores in just the first year. But by 2003, the coffee company was abandoning the country entirely. What happened?

Middle Eastern politics being what the are, the store closings ignited a firestorm of contradictory rumours. Did they close because they hate Israel? Are they secretly a “Muslim organisation?” Or were they secretly sending profits to support the Israeli Army? The truth is out there!

No, really, it is…it’s just not that exciting.

Starbucks expected Israeli consumers to give them the royal treatment, but they didn’t bother to thoroughly research the country’s existing coffee culture. According to The Jerusalem Post:

“In Israel, Italian cafe offerings like espresso and macchiato coexist with strong, flavorful Turkish coffee made simply by brewing coffee grinds in hot water and letting them settle into “mud” at the bottom of the cup. It’s rare to see a standard American filter coffee — in my experience it tastes like weakly flavored hot water.”

Read more

Translating Eastern Cinema into Western Success

Translating Eastern Cinema into Western Success

If you have more than a passing interest in cinema, you may well have heard the rumblings surrounding a new film scheduled for release at the end of 2016. The film in question is called ‘The Great Wall’, a record breaking 135 million dollar epic set entirely in China, with a huge all-star Chinese cast, directed by Zhang Yimou (who you may recognise as the director of Hero & House of Flying Daggers), but perhaps surprisingly, it stars American actor, Matt Damon, in one of the leading roles.

Damon’s appointment has drawn some criticism in the media with accusations of whitewashing (the casting practice in which white actors are cast in historically non-white character roles). Yimou denies this and it’s interesting to hear the director’s motivations behind the decision. “For the first time, a film deeply rooted in Chinese culture, with one of the largest Chinese casts ever assembled, is being made at tentpole scale for a world audience. I believe that is a trend that should be embraced by our industry… Matt Damon is not playing a role that was originally conceived for a Chinese actor. The arrival of his character in our story is an important plot point. There are five major heroes in our story and he is one of them – the other four are all Chinese.” Read more

little prince translations

4 Passages in the “Little Prince” Show Why Translation is an Art

Is translation an art or is it a science? A little bit of both? 4 passages from The Little Prince show just how much influence a translator has on how readers experience the original work in another language.

Did you know that Antoine de Saint Exupéry’s story The Little Prince  is one of the most-translated books in the whole world? It’s been translated into 253 different languages from around the world.  And it’s been translated from the original French into English several times. From 1943 to 2001, the most widely-read translation of The Little Prince was by Katherine Woods. That translation is now out of print, scrapped in favor of a more “modern” translation by Richard Howard. Native English readers have strong feelings about which translation is the best. When you look at how each translator interpreted the same passage, it’s easy to see why!

Here are 4 passages from each of the Little Prince translations that show the differences between the two.

“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

This quote, spoken by the fox in the Woods translation, is often cited as the quote that best illustrates the theme of The Little Prince. Here’s how it fared in the Howard translation: “One sees clearly only with the heart. Anything essential is invisible to the eyes.”

While you can tell both versions are based on the same original, each one has a different rhythm, cadence and voice.  And you can bet that readers noticed. For example, one Amazon reviewer commented

“Huh? “Anything essential is invisible to the eyes”? Far from expressing Antoine de Saint Exupéry’s meaning, this generalization means, in effect, nothing. And it is obviously not true: Water is essential, and you can see it (more or less).

Read more

Infographic: How translators can market themselves online

Infographic: How Translators Can Market Themselves Online

In our field we work with literally 1000’s of translators, sometimes they come to us directly, but often we need to go looking for specialists with linguistic skills in specific areas like document localisation or website translation. It’s here where we noticed a problem, a great many translators aren’t making themselves visible to potential online customers anywhere near as much as they could. Some of the very best translators we have on our books don’t have any kind of online presence, which made us think, maybe we can help.

Being a freelance translator is a competitive business, even more so if you are just starting out. To make sure you have the best chance of getting work in from clients, you absolutely must make sure those clients can find you. More and more people are using the internet to research and buy translation services and you really don’t want to be left behind as this trend shows no sign of slowing. It’s not enough to set up a profile on and wait for the jobs to roll in, thousands are already doing exactly that… you need to start taking a proactive approach and make sure potential clients have the best chance of finding you vs. your competition, how do you do that? Well besides being great at what you do, marketing yourself effectively online can help enormously. Read more

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