7 Must Read Books in Translation – Updated 2022

By: Cheryl

By: Ashley Tulio, Communication Specialist

Translation is essential in our everyday life as we live in an ever-evolving multicultural and multilingual world that requires efficient communication within various languages and cultures. A normal individual can’t fathom the number of words, ideas or services we use now that were originally a part of a different language or culture. Its exchange of information has led to the great discovery of mankind. Did you know that as Christianity expanded over the world, the Bible itself was translated hundreds of times? Translation is the only thing that makes this all possible. When cultures collide, history is created, and the craft of translation has been instrumental in influencing historical events from behind the scenes.

To preserve such key information, MCIS provides translation services for various documents, including websites, content, promotional materials, newsletters, media releases, legal documents, etc., in over 300 languages. MCIS always matches every project with the best-qualified translator! To learn more about Translation Services that MCIS offers, please click here.

Translated literature can also be an adventure into a new dimension that allows you to gain a greater appreciation for the perspectives of those from different backgrounds. Therefore, we have compiled a selection of translated literature that that will go perfectly with your pumpkin Spice Latte this fall. Lose yourself in the finest stories the world has to offer and open yourself up to the vast array of talent, stories, and culture that you were previously closed off to because of language barriers.

  1. A Strange Woman 

By: Leylâ Erbil

Genre: Coming-Of-Age Story

Translated by Nermin Menemencioğlu and Amy Marie Spangler from Turkish to English

One of the most notable recent releases is that of “A strange woman” by Leylâ Erbil. An interesting fact about Leyla is that she was the first Turkish woman to be nominated for a Nobel Prize for this book after its original release. The pioneering debut novel was published in the early 1970s and tells the story of an aspiring young woman in a complex and profoundly traditional country. It is a great book to pick up if you wish to know more about Turkey, specifically Istambul and the people living there. The protagonist is torn between the creative and rebellious youth culture and the traditional way of life that her parents represent. This novel is an essential feminist landmark, and it explores the struggles of a woman to be an intellectual in a resistant society that does not wish to accept her.

  1. Portrait of an Unknown Lady

By Maria Gainza

Genre: Mystery / Crime Fiction

Translated by Thomas Bunstead from Spanish to English

For those looking for a fun detective novel, this book will be perfect. This is a highly anticipated novel by Spanish author Maria Gainza. The success of her first novel, Optic Nerve, has raised readers’ expectations for her subsequent works to an extremely high level. This book tells the story of a legendary art forger and an auction house employee who tries to uncover her identity. This piece of literature is driven by obsession and is full of subtle surprise. It explores the difference between what is lived and what is told, with reality often being the more exciting yet unpleasant version.

  1. At the Edge of the Woods

By Masatsugu Ono

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Translated by Juliet Winters Carpenter from Japanese to English

In yet another twisted tale of a family moving away from the city into a house near the woods, this psychological thriller is going to leave you wanting for more. This sudden change of scenery causes many strange situations for the very few characters in this book. This novel is very atmospheric, and when reading it, you can almost picture yourself in the eerie woods, inexplicable occurrences, and grim news on the television. It’s a novel about alienation and a climate catastrophe where myth and fantasy are not the dominions of childhood innocence, but the poison fruit borne of the paranoia and violence of contemporary life.

  1. The Woman Running in the Mountains

By Yuko Tsushima

Genre: Fiction

Translated by Geraldine Harcourt from Japanese to English

For those looking to experience and learn something new, we would recommend “The Woman Running in the Mountains” by Yuko Tsushima. This novel was originally published in 1980, but fell out of print in English, and is now being reissued nearly 45 years later. It’s set in 1970s Japan and tells the story of a single mother. The novel is very realistic and atmospheric when it comes to its setting and its characters. It explores the protagonist’s early motherhood, her struggles, and her quest to find her place in the world as her child grows older.

  1. All the Lovers in the Night 

by Mieko Kawakami

Genre: Psychological Fiction

Translated by Sam Bett David Boyd from Japanese to English

Those looking for a fun and emotional journey full of self-love and surprises should pick up “All the Lovers in the Night”. This book is about Fuyuko Irie, a freelance copy editor in her mid-thirties. One day as she is walking through a Tokyo Street and the author notices a woman  in a mall window who seemed  sad, awkward, and spiritless woman who has lacked the strength to change her life, take risks and live. To her surprise, she was looking at her reflection in the mirror. This one moment changes everything and pushes Fuyuko to do something about it. This novel is very insightful, self-reflective and fun. It will have you both crying and laughing just a few pages apart. It is a truly inspirational story of someone giving it their all despite great difficulty.

  1. The Life and Death of a Minke Whale in the Amazon: Dispatches from the Brazilian Rainforest

By Fábio Zuker

Genre: Nature Writing

Translated by Ezra Fitz from Portuguese to English

Those concerned with climate change and environmental justice will find “The Life and Death of a Minke Whale in the Amazon” a fascinating read. This novel is a collection of journalistic essays that tell different stories of life in the rainforest and indigenous resistance to environmental destruction. The essays are hand-picked and are creatively displayed in a way that makes you question human carelessness for nature, its creatures, and the world around them.

  1. Chilean Poet

by Alejandro Zambra

Genre: Domestic Fiction

Translated by Megan McDowell from Spanish to English

The “Chilean Poet” is what you want if you’re seeking something heartfelt. It is a tale about a lost person, an unsuccessful and failed poet full of ambition, pride and shattered dream that one day reunites with his teen sweetheart and becomes a stepparent as a result. Alejandro chronicles with love, tenderness, and immense insight the everyday life of this newly formed family and all its funny, painful and filled with sweet moments.

MCIS’s Translation Services

MCIS provides translation services for various documents, including websites, content, promotional materials, newsletters, media releases, legal documents, etc., in over 300 languages. MCIS always matches every project with the best-qualified translator! To learn more about Translation Services that MCIS offers, please click here.