According to the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) has been the most translated document in the world for more than 10 years. This six-page document was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris on December 10, 1948, with the intention of reaching world peace after the barbarity of the Second World War.

 

For its preparation, a commission was attended by representatives with different legal and cultural backgrounds from all parts of the world.

 

They drafted thirty articles that establish the fundamental human rights to be universally protected, regardless of skin color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinions, national or social origin, property, birth or another status, etc.


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Why is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights the most translated document in the world?

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Source: United Nation

 

This document is considered a milestone in the history of human rights since it establishes the right to life, liberty, and personal security and repudiates discrimination, torture, slavery, and/or any kind of inhuman or cruel treatment. Therefore, the United Nation’s objective is that all people in the world have access to this.

 

Since it was created, the UDHR has inspired the constitutions of many states and democracies. It forms part of the International Charter of Human Rights, which also comprises the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and its two Optional Protocols (on the complaint procedure and the death penalty), and the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights and its Optional Protocol.

 

Did the most translated document in the world enter the Guinness Book?

Guiness World Record

Source: Guinness World Records

 

In 1999, the Guinness World Records published this declaration as the most translated document in the world. At the time, it was available in 298 languages. Ten years later, the Guinness World Records updated the certification when the number reached 370. Currently, this document can be found in over 500 options, including different dialects, indigenous, and British and Spanish sign languages, ​​from Abkhaz to Zulu.

 

But who can translate a document of such importance?

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Source: UN News

 

Anyone can translate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. You can submit a new translation if you cannot find your language among the hundreds of options already available. There is even a guide on how to do it here.

 

As the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said “the growing number of translations underscores the universality of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the power of its words to resonate strongly across all cultures and languages.”

 

What about other contexts? What’s the most translated book? Website? Film?

When analyzing other areas, we realize that religion has great importance in a lot of cultures, resulting in a high number of translations.

 

That said, I am sure you can imagine what the most translated book in the world is: the Bible. Originally written in Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic, its full version is currently available in 704 languages ​​and dialects. The New Testament has been translated into an additional 1,551 languages and Bible portions or stories into 1,160 other languages. Thus at least some portions of the Bible have been translated into 3,415 languages.

 

The most translated website is jw.org, the official page of Jehovah’s Witnesses, currently available in 1,067 languages, surpassing world-renowned pages such as Facebook and Google.

 

The most translated film is ‘The Jesus Film Project’, available in 817 languages.

 

That said, we can see the importance of translation for humanity. It has the responsibility of connecting people and enabling the communication of information throughout the world. Bridges can be made between countries because of translation.

Published On: September 16th, 2022 / Categories: Business Translation, Global eLearning, Social Media /

Tatiana von Sperling

September 16, 2022

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