Sep 15, 2007
Translations ... in some ways, they are the most exciting, profound
thing that can happen to an author. Your words
translated into another language, read by people halfway or even
completely around the world.
I've been pretty fortunate with translations of my books. I
was just looking them over. Here are some stats and
details [updated March
. My work, at present, has been
translated into Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Farci (Persian), French,
Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Czech, Polish, Romanian, Macedonian,
Croatian, Russian, Turkish, and Arabic.
. Chinese holds the record, at this point, with translations of
eight of my books (all nonfiction): Mind
at Large: Knowing in the Technological Age
Soft Edge: A Natural History and Future of the Information
McLuhan: A Guide to the Information Millennium
The Fate of Physical Presence in the Digital Age,
On and Off Planet
The Story of the World's Most Mobile Medium, and How It Has
, The Essential Levinson
, and Human
Replay: A Theory of the Evolution of Media
doctoral dissertation, published in Chinese translation in China in
2017).. Second editions of New New Media
were published in Chinese translation
in China in the summer of 2014.
.Polish holds second place, with five translations. Three are
of my nonfiction books, The Soft
and New New Media
, and two are of my science fiction
received the most translations - seven - Japanese, Chinese (twice -
Taiwan and PRC), Korean, Croatian, Romanian, Macedonian (I love
that - Alexander the Great!)
.The Soft Edge
received the second most translations - five - Chinese (twice),
Portuguese, Polish, and Turkish.
.The most money I was ever paid as an advance for a translation was
for the Japanese edition of Digital McLuhan
.The most royalties I have received for any translation has been
for the Korean translation of New New Media
.Three of my science fiction novels
have been translated: The Silk Code
were translated into Polish.
A Romanian translation of The
Plot to Save Socrates
was published in 2014, Spanish and
Portuguese translations in 2015, and an Italian translation in
.The French, Italian, and Czech translations have been of my
science fiction short stories. The Farci (Persian)
translation was of a scholarly article about social media in
2010. All the other translations have been of my books.
You might wonder why there is much more translation from Eastern
Europe than Western Europe. There are at least two
reasons. One is that more people read English in Western
Europe than in Eastern Europe, so translations are less
necessary. Another is that the end of the Cold War has led to
a remarkable intellectual renaissance in the former Soviet
Of course, speaking of reading English, I'm not fluent in most of
these languages - I can't really read even a single word in a few -
so I have no way of knowing if I'd be happy with the fidelity of
But I have confidence in the cosmos.
A few covers follow ... I'll add more as I get a chance to scan
them, or find them on the Web...