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Index Translationum's top 50 most translated authors

Related: author - success - world literature - bestseller - translation - greatness

In search of the relationship between critical acclaim and popularity


The Index Translationum is an index of translated authors kept by Unesco.

Since the advent of the printing press, books had been translated at the initiative of individual publishers and booksellers, with no central record of such translations. To the orderly minds of the world's national librarians, the system seemed little better than anarchic. The League of Nations was pressured into setting up the first systematic record of translations. The Index Translationum was born in 1932.

In 1946, Unesco took over the chore. In 1979, the system was computerised and a true cumulative database began to take shape. Since there is no systematic data on global book sales, the Index has come to be the best available proxy. If you want to ask the question "Who are the most popular authors in the world?" then the Index is the only way to get an answer. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Index_Translationum [Dec 2006]

Index Translationum's Top 50 Most Translated Authors

1 Walt Disney Productions Inc US
2 Agatha Christie UK
3 Jules Verne France
4 Vladimir Lenin Russia
5 Enid Blyton UK
6 Barbara Cartland UK
7 William Shakespeare UK
8 Danielle Steel US
9 Hans Christian Andersen Denmark
10 Stephen King US
11 Jakob Grimm Germany
12 Wilhelm Grimm Germany
13 The Bible (New Testament)
14 Isaac Asimov US
15 Mark Twain US
16 Alexandre Dumas France
17 John Paul II Poland
18 Georges Simenon Belgium
19 Jack London US
20 Arthur Conan Doyle UK
21 Rene Goscinny France
22 the bible
23 Fyodor Dostoyevsky Russia
24 Robert Louis Stevenson UK
25 Leo Tolstoy Russia
26 Charles Dickens UK
27 Astrid Lindgren Sweden
28 Robert L. Stine US
29 Victoria Holt UK
30 Karl Marx Germany
31 Alistair MacLean UK
32 Oscar Wilde Ireland
33 Sidney Sheldon US
34 Rudolf Steiner Austria
35 Ernest Hemingway US
36 Friedrich Engels Germany
37 Hermann Hesse Germany
38 Honore de Balzac France
39 James Hadley Chase UK
40 Bible (Old Testament)
41 Nora Roberts US
42 Charles Perrault France
43 Ruth Rendell UK
44 Edgar Allan Poe US
45 Robert Ludlum US
46 Rudyard Kipling UK
47 Plato Greece
48 Roman Catholic Church
49 J.R.R. Tolkien UK
50 Franz Kafka Czechoslovakia

In what other list would Lenin rub shoulders with Agatha Christie? Where else would Enid Blyton be ranked two places ahead of William Shakespeare? In what other list of best-selling authors would the top spot be taken by an outfit, Walt Disney Inc, which isn't in the normal sense an author at all?

Meantime, Unesco continues to update its Index. J.K. Rowling will surely make it to the top 50 sometime soon. Dan Brown will surely follow. Rudyard Kipling (46) is probably too unfashionable to hold his place on the list for long.

--Harry Bingham, Jan 2006 http://www.ft.com

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Index_Translationum [Jun 2006]

Quote: The pocket-size book was invented in the sixteenth century, and it has proven to be the most convenient and safest means of escapism known to humankind. --Yi-Fu Tuan, 2002

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