Textbooks in translation


"Books are the treasured wealth of the world and the fit inheritance

of generations and nations."  -Thoreau, Walden p. 102 


In too many developing nations, students struggle to read English-language textbooks that typically don’t include examples from their region. 


For 21 years, I have been inviting scientists to be co-authors of foreign-language editions of my textbooks “Essentials of Conservation Biology” and “A Primer of Conservation Biology.”   My co-authors translate the English text into their own language and insert local examples and photos to make it more relevant to their students, as described in a recent article in BioScience (linked below). For example, the Indonesian edition features tropical deforestation and orangutan conservation.


So far, 34 translations have appeared in 20 languages with eleven more in production. Some editions cover countries or regions with large populations, such as China, South Asia, the Arabic-speaking world, and Latin America, while others cover less populous countries, such as Estonia, Nepal, Greece, Serbia and Mongolia. Many of these books have been widely adapted for teaching university courses. 


An unexpected benefit of these translated textbooks is that I have incorporated some of the best country-specific case studies back into the English-language versions, enriching their global perspective.


This textbook approach would be worth extending to related disciplines, including ecology, environmental science, wildlife biology, forestry, and agriculture, and even perhaps geography, medicine, and economics.


Read more about the textbook translation project in BioScience!


For details about these books, including ordering information, please visit Sinauer.