Grants for the Translation of World Literature into English

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Let’s be fair, book lovers would be devastated without book translations. There’s so much beautiful literature in the world that it’s hard to grasp all of it. One portal towards accessing the different worlds of literature is through translation – it helps you understand a work of literature and bring you closer to it.

But in order to make translations possible, money is needed. Translators are not the cheapest workers to get and, not to mention, their job is not that easy either. That’s why grants are such a good thing – they offer grants so the translation of literature into various languages is possible.

What Makes Literary Translation so Important

Translation of literature has been around for a very long time. It is what gave people many opportunities, helping them with:

  • Education

Many educative books are written by foreign authors. So, if people do not understand what they say, their access to information is limited. This is why translation is of such value – it allows people to inform themselves on various matters and become more educated.

  • World Understanding

Related to the education point would also be the world understanding aspect. Data about the world, the thought process of previous generations and so on are preserved in books all over the world. History, politics, philosophy and so on are all in literature, and since so many countries have such literary creations, it’s important to make the information available in English too. Translators have made this possible.

  • Literature Enjoyment

Literature doesn’t only educate, but it also makes us feel better and enjoy the complexity of a fictional world, character, as well as the imagination of an author. There are such authors all over the world, so it’s important to make it possible for English readers to understand books from a foreign country too.

Grants for Translation of World Literature into English – Programs that Offer Them

Here are some programs that offer grants for translating literature from all over the world:

  • PEN

One such program is PEN, which is a program in the UK. If you’re a UK-based publisher, you can make a submission for translation grants here. You can do it regardless of the language you want the translation to be from. A big percentage of the accepted submissions will be funded for translation, so it would be a big advantage for you.

PEN works under the belief that literature is the “currency between nations”, and they make it their mission to ensure that UK residents have access to beautiful creations.

The grants program is called PEN Translates, which is able to ensure that translated literature can be provided, while translators are getting the right payment. They pretty much offer awards for books of courage and merits too.

  • NEA

NEA, or the National Endowment for the Arts, is an agency that wants to promote arts by supporting and funding them, all for the Americans. This will expand the people’s horizons by giving them access to a vast majority of literary creation.

Just back in 2018, NEA has made an announcement that $325,000 in grants will be offered for translating world literature into English. They understood the importance of giving people access to works from all over the world, which is why such a big sum has been awarded. The money has been awarded to 25 translators, so they can work on translating stories from 17 foreign countries.

NEA has been operating for decades, and since 1981, it’s known to have awarded 480 fellowships to 425 literary translators. As such, translations came in 69 languages, and from 83 countries of the world.

Can You Apply for Translation Grants?

Yes, application for translation grants is available if you’re a publisher. However, you need to keep in mind that there’s no guarantee a grant will actually be awarded. There are a few things to keep in mind when you want to do so.

First of all, you need to know that some programs will translate a project as long as it’s in progress, but they may not do so during the final stages of its production.

At the same time, when you apply for a grant, you need to ensure that the literary creation is of high-quality, and can bring something to the English-speaking audience. If it’s something that will not be of much value to them, the chances of receiving a grant are low. 

Final Thoughts

Literature is one of the beautiful aspects of the world, so if you know creations that could be of help to English speakers, you might get a grant for submitting the translation. Just make sure you fit the requirements, and that you check the specific program’s policies prior to doing so. Not to mention, you should find the best translation site too, so do a lot of research if you want to be victorious.

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