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I have recently been told of a proposal to produce an English translation of Landau's Handbuch der Lehre von der Verteilung der Primzahlen, and this prompts me to ask a more general question:

Which foreign-language books would you most like to see translated into English?

These could be classics of historical interest, books you would like your students to read, books you would like to teach from, or books of use in your own research.

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The Russian translation of Milnor's Morse Theory. That's a nice book. :) –  Ryan Budney Mar 11 '10 at 0:04
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I also have both of them! And I've just check (fast checking) that pictures are absolutely same. Russian version contains small attachments (by Anosov), but they are not... as good as the book and really short, few pages. You know, translation should be a translation (I am sure Arnol'd could add smth interesting to Milnor, I am a student of V.I., but it is not the case). –  Petya Mar 11 '10 at 0:36
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At least I understood a meaning of your smile! –  Petya Mar 11 '10 at 0:49
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It was (during the 20th century) assumed that all mathematicians read English,French,German. Probably translations of French & German books from that period will (with few exceptions) happen only when computer translationn gets good enough to do it. –  Gerald Edgar Feb 12 '14 at 15:00

54 Answers 54

The following wonderful 54 page survey by O. Neumann on Kronecker's divisor theory could easily be turned into a book and would fill a very large gap in the English literature on such. I'm interested in helping if anyone is game for such (but, alas, my German is weak).

Neumann, O.(D-FSU-MI) 2003k:13021 13F05 (01A55 13G05 20M14)
Was sollen und was sind Divisoren? (German. German summary)
[What are divisors and what can we do with them?]
Math. Semesterber. * 48 (2002), no. 2, 139--192.

In the first part of this paper a survey is given of the development of Kronecker's theory of divisors. In the second part the author develops a theory of integral domains $R$ having a divisor theory in the following sense: there exists a monoid $D$ (i.e., a commutative semigroup with cancellation and a unit element) with the GCD-property for the associated group $G$ of quotients, and a homomorphism $\mathrm{div}$ of the multiplicative group $K^*$ of the quotient field of $R$ into $G$ with the following two properties:

(i) If $a,b \in K^*$ and $b/a \in R$, then $\mathrm{div}(b)/\mathrm{div}(a) \in D$, and

(ii) for every element $d \in D$ there exists a set $A \subseteq K^*$
such that $d$ is the gcd of $\{\mathrm{div}(a) : a \in A\}$.

The author states that a similar theory was presented in the thesis of F. Lucius ["Ringe mit einer Theorie des groessten gemeinsamen Teilers", Ph.D. thesis, Univ. Gottingen, Gottingen, 1996; Zbl 0901.13002]. After developing the fundamental properties of such divisor theory, relations to the approaches of Kronecker, Zolotarev and Dedekind are established.
--Reviewed by W. Narkiewicz

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[original suggestion/answer by Andrew L]

Constantin Carathéodory's Vorlesungen über Reelle Funktionen. Why this book has never been translated into English is simply a mystery to me.

And while he's at it, let's get whoever's on that case to get Courant and Hurewitz's treatise on complex functions into English as well, so I can see finally if it's as good as Serge Lang always said it was...

2 last requests while I'm at it: Faddeev's 1984 Lectures In Algebra and the second edition of Kostrikin's 3 volume Introduction To Algebra. I'm such a sucker for Russian texts, they're so beautiful and concrete with connections to physics. We Westerners can learn so much from their approach.

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There are two books on popular mathematics by Polish mathematicans Krzysztof Ciesielski and Zdzisław Pogoda (both from the Jagiellonian University in Krakow): the first one is Diamenty matematyki [Mathematical diamonds] (cover http://merlin.pl/images_big/3/83-7337-932-0.jpg), the second is Bezmiar matematycznej wyobraźni [The endlessness of mathematical imagination] (I could not find a better transaltion). Both aim at non-specialist, mostly high-school students, and are written in a unique, informal yet rigorous style. Both are very popular and out of print in Poland. A modified version of a chapter in Mathematical diamonds has been translated by Abe Shenitzer and was published in the American Mathematical Monthly as On Ordering the Natural Numbers, or, The Sharkovski Theorem in Vol. 115, No. 2 (Feb., 2008), pp. 159-165.

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Friedrich Levi, Geometrische Konfigurationen

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Équations différentielles à points singuliers réguliers, by Deligne.

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Catégories et structures by Charrles Ehresmann

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Einfuhrung in die Algebraische Geometrie-B.L. van der WAERDEN

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Paul Gordan ``Vorlesungen ueber Invariantentheorie" available here , both volumes. This is most worthwhile since the content of most other classics is well accounted for in modern texts whereas this way of doing algebraic geometry has been completely forgotten. Poor knowledge of Gordan's methods is a net loss for contemporary mathematics.

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"Introduction aux groupes arithmétiques" by Armand Borel.

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Riemannsche Geometrie Im Grossen by Gromoll, Klingenberg and Meyer. I remember this book being cited by Gromov in his famous green book for further details about connections.

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Probably most of the works from Oskar Perron. It has been mentioned already Die Lehre von den Kettenbrüchen, both volumes, but we could also ask for Irrationalzahlen or any of the other works from Perron. Also worth being mentioned, for applied mathematicians, are the works of Grigory Isaakovich Barenblatt, previous to 1994; this is because Barenblatt has consistently worked about scaling phenomena, but from about the beginnings of the 1990's he began to do it on his own, whereas earlier work includes the participation of other marvelous mathematicians, like Z'eldovich; or even works on his own, but it is interesting to compare the evolution of his ideas. So, the name of books with his participation previous to the 1990's, and to my knowledge, not translated into English: * Ja, B Zeldovich, G. I. Barenblatt, V. B. Librovich, G. M. Maxvikadze "Matematicheskaja teorija gorenija i vsriva", 1980 * G. I. Barenblatt, "Podobie, avtomodelnoct, promezhutochnaja asimptotika: teorija i prilozhenija k geofizicheskoi gidrodinamike", 1982 * A. P. Licitsin, G. I. Barenblatt "gidrodinamika i osadkoobrasovanie", 1983 * G. I. Barenblatt, V. N. Entov, V. M. Rizhik, "Dvizhenie zhidkocteii i gazov v prirodnix plactax" 1984 * G. I. Barenblatt, "Analiz razmernosteii" . Uch. pos. M.: MFTI, 1987. 168 с. (I think this last work made it to English under the translation as "Dimensional Analysis", but in that case I saw it only once, at the library of the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics -DAMTP-of Cambridge, UK, many years ago and is likely out of print anyway, plus the edition, to my knowledge was not revised; on top of that, DAMTP changed from Silver Street to Wilberforce road, and I have no idea if that book survived the moving, if indeed was at that library).

Notice also, that in the Nachlass (the collection of manuscripts, left after the death of an academician, and of course in particular a mathematician) of people like Bernhard Riemann or Ernst Zermelo, there might be still some untranslated documents, but then again they also need to be interpreted in a way that could be meaningful, and this because they are not finished, published or even unpublished works, but sketches of something not fully developed.

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Bourbaki "Théories spectrales Ch 1-2". This also related to the MO question here.

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Re: For publication of EGA and SGA, see this: http://www.grothendieckcircle.org/

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veit79 is referring to the following news: golem.ph.utexas.edu/category/2010/02/… –  Qiaochu Yuan Mar 19 '10 at 7:46

Teubner-Taschenbuch der Mathematik Teil II

The first part (Teil I) of this book was translated into English as the Oxford User's Guide to Mathematics

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F. Prus-Wisniowski - Szeregi Rzeczywiste (Poland, Uniwersytet Szczecinski) - a monograph on real series. It can be read by first-year students while supplying the reader with very powerful tools for real (and sometimes complex) series; it might surprise the PhD reader. More importantly, it builds a good understanding of the way real series work. Publisher's website

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Hilbert-Bernays's "Foundations of Mathematics", it's a shame that this classic work haven't translated yet!

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Durer's works on proportion, which take a Euclidean approach to constructing visible objects.

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Two volume introduction to Complex Analysis by B.V.Shabat. Actually, I have already translated about 150 pages of the first volume which is about as much as one can cover in Complex Variable undergraduate course offered by a typical U.S. university. I did give the translation as a hand out to my students last year when I taught Complex variables class. I did translation out of frustration with the book of Churchill and Brown.

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"Quadratische Formen" by Martin Kneser.

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O. Perron - Die Lehre von den Kettenbruechen (Band 1-2)

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Hilbert's collected works are not fully translated into English. E.g. his paper Ueber ternaere definite Formen". Acta Math., 17 (1893), 169–197 was only translated into Russian.

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I'd love to see Weil's book on Kahler geometry: Introduction à l'étude des variétés kählériennes.

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Etienne Ghys, Pierre de la Harpe, "Sur les Groupes Hyperboliques d’après Mikhael Gromov"

A detailed exposition of Gromov's ideas, outlined in his "Hyperbolic groups" article.

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