What would “Jeopardy!” look like if the only category was “translation” ?

Jeopardy! is a long-running American TV quiz show that originally aired in 1964 and is still very popular. In it, players are given clues to find the correct answers. In its format, the clues are phrased as answers, while players must phrase their answers in the form of questions, in sort of a reverse Q and A. Although the subject matter for the quiz is broad in spectrum, for the purposes of this post let’s limit it to “translation.” How many can you get right?

Clue: Saint Jerome


Who is the patron saint of translators?

Saint Jerome translated the Old Testament into Latin directly from the original Hebrew (instead of via Greek). His feast day, marking his death on September 30th, also became International Translation Day when the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution 71/288 in 2017.

Clue: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish


What are the official languages of the United Nations?

The six official languages of the UN are Arabic (Modern Standard Arabic), Chinese (Mandarin using simplified characters), English (British English with Oxford spelling), French, Russian and Spanish. These languages are used at meetings of various UN organs, particularly the General Assembly (Article 51 of its Rules of Procedure), the Economic and Social Council and the Security Council (Article 41 of its Rules of Procedure).

Clue: Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and Nigeria


Which countries have the most languages?

Papua New Guinea tops the list with 852 living languages. Indonesia comes in second, with 722 living languages. Third place goes to Nigeria, with 531 living languages.

Clue: Agatha Christie, Jules Verne and William Shakespeare


Who are the most translated authors in the world?

According to UNESCO’s database of all the books translated all over the world, the top three most translated writers are Agatha Christie with 7233 translations, Jules Verne with 4751 translations, and William Shakespeare with 4293 translations.

Clue: The Epic of Gilgamesh


What is the oldest (surviving) translated literary work?

Originally written in Sumerian using an ancient cuneiform writing system that emerged in Mesopotamia around 2700BC, Gilgamesh was widely translated into Asiatic languages around 2000BC, making them the oldest known translations from one writing system to another.

Clue: The Jehovah’s Witnesses’ website


What is the most translated website?

Currently the website for this religious organization is available in 1034 languages, blowing right past corporate giants like Apple or even Wikipedia.

Clue: I am a jelly donut.


What did President John F. Kennedy inadvertently say in German during his famous speech in West Berlin, 1963?

It has been said that by saying “Ich bin ein Berliner” (with the indefinite article “ein”) instead of “Ich bin Berliner,” Kennedy referred to himself as a popular pastry instead of a person who is one with Berlin. But is that really the case? The jury seems to still be out half a century after the fact.

Translation is no trivial matter, but it is a profession and industry capable of producing more than its fair share of trivia. Do you have any good examples? Subscribe and send us a message to let us know!

Douglass McGowan