24 Top-Rated Translated Books on Goodreads

Posted by Marie on April 23, 2018
Today we're shining a spotlight on some of the top-rated translated books on Goodreads. Doing so not only promotes the universal joy of reading, but also allows us to cross borders and honor different voices from around the globe.

To create this list, we focused on books that were originally published in another language before they were released in English. From there, we narrowed down our list to only include titles with a four-star rating from readers. This list is by no means exhaustive, so make sure to mention your favorite translated books in the comments. Don't forget to add what catches your eye to your Want to Read shelf.


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What are some of your favorite translated books? Let us know in the comments!

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Comments Showing 1-50 of 75 (75 new)


message 2: by Kenya (new)

Kenya Starflight Brooke wrote: "Battle Royale"

FANTASTIC book!


message 3: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie Fitzgerald Let Sleeping Dogs Lie by Miriam Pressler


message 4: by Amy (new)


message 5: by Michael (new)

Michael Rieman The Eight Mountains by Paolo Cognetti


message 6: by Katsuro (new)

Katsuro Ricksand The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo isn't translated so much as rewritten. Some parts of the English translation are changed from the original, and some parts of the original have just been removed. It's a disgrace to Stieg Larsson.


message 7: by Darren (new)

Darren anybody beat rating of 4.52?
The Devil to Pay in the Backlands
The Devil to Pay in the Backlands by João Guimarães Rosa


message 11: by Aurora (new)

Aurora The vegetarian by han kang
Human acts by han kang
Tale of genji by murasaki shikibu
Dream of red chamber by cao xueqin


message 12: by GypsyBookworm (new)

GypsyBookworm Interesting the very popular Inkheart is not on here. It was translated from the German.


message 13: by Gillian (new)

Gillian Brooke wrote: "Battle Royale"

I was gonna say the same thing!


message 14: by Gillian (new)

Gillian "The Twelve Kingdoms" series by Fuyumi Ono is good.


message 15: by Murray (new)

Murray Moore No planet of the apes or bridge on the river Kwai.


message 16: by Emily (new)

Emily Karl Ove Knausgaard
Pascal Mercier's Night Train to Lisbon
Sigrid Undset's Kristin Lavransdatter
Bright Scythe Selected Poetry of Tomas Transtromer


message 17: by Tessa (new)

Tessa Lala wrote: "The Neverending Story"

Yes! I absolutely loved this book, and anyone who loved the first movie should read this.


message 19: by Darío (new)

Darío Does this website know that people whose country is not the US, the UK or Australia use it...


message 20: by Nell (new)

Nell I'm surprised that The Alchemist is not on this list.


message 21: by Joshua (new)

Joshua Chris wrote: "Strange that The Bible, New Testament, and Koran didn't make the cut. All have versions that rate over 4 stars, and they were translated into English. Is there a reason they were passed over?"

Maybe because they'd seem sort of obvious? Good question.


message 22: by Saga Norén (last edited Apr 23, 2018 03:37PM) (new)

Saga Norén I don't undertand the hate that some users have against Paulo Coelho, I don't understand... :(


message 23: by Darren (new)

Darren Emily wrote: "...Sigrid Undset's Kristin Lavransdatter..." (4.28 btw)

just going to say that one myself!

other shocking omissions with 4+Stars include:
The Twelve Chairs (Ilf & Petrov) (4.42)
Dom Casmurro (Machado de Assis) (4.25)
They Were Counted (Banffy) (4.17)
The Savage Detectives (Bolano) (4.10)
Hunger (Hamsun) (4.09)


message 24: by MystaryPi (new)

MystaryPi Three Body Problem is probably one of the greatest books that I've read - it's a MUST READ FOR EVERYONE!!

The Three-Body Problem


message 25: by Mauberley (new)

Mauberley Aurora wrote: "The vegetarian by han kang
Human acts by han kang
Tale of genji by murasaki shikibu
Dream of red chamber by cao xueqin"


I've just finished reading Human Acts and I agree: Deborah Smith appears to have given us a fantastic translation.


message 27: by Helen (new)

Helen Actually - the Bible, since the original was in Aramaic.


message 28: by Michael (new)

Michael Rieman My Name is Red

Possibly Pamuk’s most beautiful novel


message 29: by Valerie (new)

Valerie Jaye I'm surprised that Jorge Luis Borges (although I don't enjoy his work) or Julio Cortázar weren't on this list. They are two of Argentina's most famous and renowned authors in our country's entire history.


message 30: by Saga Norén (new)

Saga Norén ^You're right! Also Bioy Casares, a genious..


message 31: by Nisha (new)

Nisha Bhat Pather Panchali


message 32: by S. (new)

S. Consuelo by George Sand (and anything else by George Sand).


message 33: by Sara (new)

Sara Eames After the Crash
Black Water Lilies
Don't Let Go

All by Michel Bussi - all excellent


message 34: by Erica (new)

Erica Stark The Witcher series by Andrzej Sapkowski. The political intrigue in those books is phenomenal!


message 35: by Sammm (last edited Apr 24, 2018 10:10AM) (new)

Sammm Oh, come on! Inkheart (Inkworld, #1) by Cornelia Funke by Cornelia Funke has a higher number of ratings than some of the listed! (I like the sequels more though, but that's just me)

Edited: Dang... "we narrowed down our list to only include titles with a four-star rating from readers." Why couldn't "four-star" be written as "4-star"? I looked through the description several times, yet still MISSING that line. That explains why Inkheart wasn't listed, though I always thought it got a relatively low average rating here on GR... Sighs.


message 36: by Samantha (new)

Samantha I love The Count of Monte Cristo and The Snowman. My other favorite translated books are Madame Bovary and Camille: The Lady of the Camellias.


message 37: by Anne (new)

Anne Williams Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann. A total classic.


message 38: by Winnie (new)

Winnie Blindness is still one of my favorite books. I remembered hugging the book and crying over the story. Excellent translation and great plot/ message. It left a void in my heart after reading this and I could not pick up another book for a whole month.


message 39: by Darren (new)

Darren Anne wrote: "Buddenbrooks (4.14) by Thomas Mann. A total classic."

ooh and of course The Magic Mountain (4.14)


message 40: by Katsuro (new)

Katsuro Ricksand Winnie wrote: "Blindness is still one of my favorite books. I remembered hugging the book and crying over the story. Excellent translation and great plot/ message. It left a void in my heart after reading this an..."

I do hope you picked up the sequel at least. :) Saramago is a true master, and we were lucky to have him.


message 41: by E (new)

E The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair by Joel Dicker


message 42: by Alyssa (new)

Alyssa Darío wrote: "Does this website know that people whose country is not the US, the UK or Australia use it..."

Sometimes, I wonder... Before opening the page, I thought it would be like a list of the books most translated into different languages or something, but it looks like I was very far off.


message 44: by Karen Floyd (new)

Karen Floyd The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery and The Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cosse


message 45: by Silvia (new)

Silvia Nell wrote: "I'm surprised that The Alchemist is not on this list."

Rating is only 3.83, so didn't meet the criteria, for one thing. None of his books are over 4.0; I think he is one of those love/hate authors.


message 46: by Lillian (new)

Lillian Translated literature is my passion!


message 47: by Darren (new)

Darren Silvia wrote: "Nell wrote: "I'm surprised that The Alchemist is not on this list."

Rating is only 3.83, so didn't meet the criteria, for one thing. None of his books are over 4.0; I think he is one of..."


quite a few suggestions don't meet the 4+ (My Name Is Red, Inkheart, Tale Of Genji, Madame Bovary...)


message 48: by Yvette (last edited Apr 24, 2018 08:33AM) (new)

Yvette Following books don't answer the criteria as they've not yet been translated into English, but they certainly should be!

El Silencio de la Ciudad Blanca
Los Ritos del Agua
--> both by Eva Garcia Sáenz

Same goes for the Trilogía del Baztán by Dolores Redondo.

Both incredibly imaginative and full of suspense although very different in other aspects.


message 49: by Darren (last edited Apr 24, 2018 09:15AM) (new)

Darren I have a few more:

some obvious ones:
Bulgakov's The Master And Margarita (4.32)
Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment (4.19)
Pushkin's Eugene Onegin (4.09)
Nietzsche's Thus Spoke Zarathustra (4.05)

and some more obscure personal faves:
Mariam Petrosyan's The Gray House (4.41)
Strugatsky brothers' Roadside Picnic (4.21)
Erofeev's Moscow Stations (4.06)
Walser's Jakob von Gunten (4.02)
Marias' A Heart So White (4.01)


message 50: by Wayne (new)

Wayne Ng So glad to see Lao Tzu's, "Tao Te Ching" on the list, because his
philosophy inspired me to write Finding the Way: A Novel of Lao Tzu


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