While I returned from Vietnam to Singapore, my husband went on to Bangkok. After seeing how pleased I was to find The Little Prince in Vietnamese, he wanted to surprise me by bringing back The Little Prince in Thai. I spoiled his plan by asking him to look for it when I checked in with him online during his stay. Then he felt it was incumbent upon him to come up with an even surprisier surprise.
The result: The Little Prince deluxe pop-up book! Since I had The Little Prince in English and six other languages (not counting Thai), clearly I needed to have the book in 3D.
It’s pretty spectacular! I was indeed surprised.
After a bit of Googling, I realized: nine versions is just a drop in the bucket. There are more than 250!
For comparison, the sensationally successful Harry Potter books are “only” available in about 70 different languages (someone’s got them all); I have copies in about 30 of them.
What about the The Bible? It’s available in over a thousand languages.
Still, The Little Prince is one of the most translated works ever. It’s up there with Pinocchio, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and stories by Andersen.
Given how many versions of The Little Prince there are, owning just one version for English (well, two, counting the pop-up) is paltry. I should figure out which English translation I have, because apparently there are several, and some are more well-regarded than others—or perhaps it would be fairer to say the different versions well-regarded for different reasons.
More on the subtleties and pitfalls of translation and publication across language barriers, with specific reference to The Little Prince, at the link below.
Update: I’ve done a comparison of all 10 English translations of The Little Prince!