Interesting Facts and Statistics about Translation

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  • History’s First Translation was The Epic of Gilgamesh. Source
     

  • The World’s Most Translated Website is the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Homepage. Reports as recent as last year say the Jehovah’s Witnesses website translates into over 780 languages! Source
     

  • A One Word Mistranslation Lead to the Atomic Bomb Dropping on Hiroshima. Source
     

  • Although this has been a debatable topic for most of the linguistic experts, the Ethnologue catalog of world language estimates a total of 6909 living languages in the world which collectively account for 94% of the world population. Source
     

  • “Happy Birthday to You” is the most translated song followed by “It’s a Small World”. Source
     

  • The little Prince is the most translated fictional work in the world with over 300 translations across the world, followed by Pinocchio which is translated into 260 languages till date. Source
     

  • The top 3 most translated authors are Agatha Christie, Jules Verne and William Shakespeare. Source
     

  • Reportedly, Bible is the most translated book in the world. According to latest reports, the full Bible has been translated into 670 languages. The New Testament is translated into 2191 languages. Bible excerpts and stories are translated into 1121 languages. Source
     

  • Translation and interpretation are expected to be one of the fastest growing professions out of the top 15 occupations in the US. Source
     

  • A Single Translation Mistake Cost a Multinational Bank $10 Million. Source
     

  • During the first decade of the 21st century, over 75% of books were translated into French or German, but only 5% into Chinese. This is surprising because Chinese is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world! Source
     

  • There is a language that is far easier than English to translate. According to most translators with years of experience, Spanish is the easiest language to translate. It is because, in the Spanish language, words written are identical to the way they sound, which makes it the most accessible language to learn and translate. Source
     

  • According to the Translation Association of China, there are more than 300,000 certified translators. That is enough to fill a whole town of people. Source
     

  • International Translation Day is celebrated annually on the 30th of September and is also a feast day for St. Jerome who is a translator from Christian history. He translated the Old Testament into Latin directly from the original Hebrew. The 30th of September marks the day of his death. Source
     

  • The translation profession is more than 2,000 years old! That’s right: the Old Testament is thought to have been translated into Greek in the 3rd century BC, which would make it the oldest recorded translation. Source
     

  • Translators who translate from English to the Korean language are apparently the highest paid. Source
     

  • The most targeted languages for translation are English, French, German, Italian and Russian, making them the top 5 languages in the translation industry. Source