We have run a series of articles looking at some of the world’s most translated items, including the world’s most translated book, the world’s most translated song and the world’s most translated website. Now, to complete the series, we take a look at the world’s most translated document.
And the world record goes to…
According to Guinness World Records, the most translated document in the world is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The declaration was adopted in Paris on 10 December 1948, as a direct result of the Second World War. It was the first time that a global expression of the rights to which all humans should inherently be entitled had been issued.
As at 01 January 2009, when Guinness World Records made the award, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights had been translated into 370 languages. That compares with 2,883 languages for the most translated book (the Bible) and 731 for the most translated website (which is actually the official website of the Jehovah’s Witnesses).
As such an important document in the history of humankind, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has been translated so many times in order to reach out to readers all around the world. The document’s premise is that all people, regardless of their race, religion, country of origin, or any other factor, are entitled to those rights enshrined within the document. This applies to language too, hence the vast number of translations that have been undertaken, as the declaration is shared around the globe.
Was the Universal Declaration of Human Rights the document that you thought would be the most translated in the world? Which other documents have used translation to reach global audiences in this way? Feel free to share your thoughts via the comments.