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5 International Writers Who Have Been Translated in English

7 min read
10 February 2021
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As booklovers across the world know, great works of fiction come from all different cities and continents. English is the international language of communication, and it is common for many popular writers to have their work translated into English. This allows an extended reader-base to explore the wonderful narratives of international authors and experience many of the cultures and traditions of these places through their stories.

If you’re still learning English, it may be helpful to attempt reading the translations of these books to test your comprehension and reading skill level. You can even add these to your ever-growing list of books to read that can help improve your English! To celebrate National Book Lover’s Day, we thought we would take a moment to highlight some of our favorite authors (dead and alive) that have had their work translated into English.


Clarice Lispector – Brazil

Recommended reading: Near to the Wild Heart

At the age of 23, Lispector published her first novel and was quickly launched to fame because of her innovative style and language, which was considered revolutionary in Brazil at the time. Many of her books focus on the concept of self-discovery in everyday situations. Even though she died almost forty years ago, her literature still remains popular amongst Brazilian and international audiences, referenced frequently in popular culture.

Her stories are enjoyed by English-speakers and Portuguese-speakers alike, proving why it is important to translate revolutionary works for a wider audience.


Gabriel Garcia Márquez – Colombia

Recommended reading: One Hundred Years of Solitude

Known affectionately as ‘Gabo’ or ‘Gabito’ throughout Latin America, Márquez is an international best seller and the 1982 Nobel Prize winner in Literature. In the tradition of the magical realists of Latin America, Márquez’s stories feel as though they are taking place in dreams, mixing the real world and the fantastical world of fiction into beautiful stories. When learning English, it helps to test your knowledge of vocabulary and grammar by reading, and we can’t think of a better way than cuddling up with one of Márquez’s influential stories.

Márquez is popular with international audiences because of his ability to act as a voice for the South American culture, providing a closer look into the region’s cultural identity.


Isabel Allende – Chile

Recommended reading: The House of the Spirits

Similar to Márquez, Allende is a Latin American author who writes in the genre of magical realism. The niece of former Chilean president Salvador Allende, she left Chile and found refuge in Venezuela, where she spent her time writing numerous novels that use fantasy and myth to create stories that follow the history of Chile through several generations of women. She admits that she has been greatly influenced by the works of Gabriel Garcia Márquez.

Allende is a very popular author in the United States, which has allowed for most of her works to be translated into English. Studying English in the USA? Why not explore some of Allende’s books to see what all the hype is about?


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It's always great to read in the language you're learning too!


Haruki Murakami ­– Japan

Recommended reading: The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

It’s fairly likely that if you enter a bookstore, at least one of Murakami’s books will be on display. And it’s no wonder why, when his colorful stories are brimming with a light-hearted tone and strange imagery. He is critically acclaimed for his unusual style and otherworldly settings, which have created a cult following among his readers. Murakami himself has even admitted that he often writes sentences in English before he writes them in Japanese, which ensures that his style and structure can be enjoyed equally by Japanese and English-speaking audiences. Reading one of Murakami’s novels can give you a valuable insight into how to write for an English-speaking audience.

Although much of his style relates back to the traditional storytelling of Japan, another part of it is extremely modern and relatable to a larger audience, which is probably why his books have been translated into English – so they can be read by more people around the world!


Orhan Pamuk – Turkey

Recommended reading: My Name is Red

Bestselling Turkish author, Orhan Pamuk, has made an international name for himself over the years, using a traditional European writing style to explore the complicated history of Turkey. In his own country, he is a blockbuster hit, with each of his novels quickly soaring to the top of the best-seller lists. Across the world, audiences have been captivated by his unique take on the stories of Turkey, and his work has sold over thirteen million books in sixty-three languages, making him Turkey’s best-selling author. Reading his works in English will not only provide you with valuable practice in your English language skills, but it will also introduce you to the rich history and culture of Turkey.

In 2006, Pamuk was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, which increased interest in his novels even further on an international scale, allowing for more translations that made his stories available to anyone who wanted to read them.


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If you’re looking to expand your knowledge of the English language, take look at some of our English language courses and see if any of them might be right for you! Have any other favorite translated books? 


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