PEN Translates

This fund is part of English PEN’s Writers in Translation programme PEN Translates is English PEN’s new grants scheme for translation. Launched in 2012 at the London Book Fair, this unique new fund is open to submissions from all UK-based publishers. Building on the success of English PEN’s Writers in Translation programme, we are committed to supporting: Works of outstanding literary merit, Strong and innovative publishing projects, Diverse writing from around the world PEN Translates will fund up to 75% of translation costs for selected projects. When a publisher’s annual turnover is less than £100,000 we will consider supporting up to 100% of translation costs.


Work from all languages is eligible for a PEN Translates grant and it is not essential for publishers to have acquired the rights at the time of application. The submitted project may be in the form of fiction (including children’s literature), non-fiction, poetry, prose or plays (for print edition), but not magazines. The main criteria for assessment are: Literary quality, Strength of the publishing project, Contributing to literary diversity Please note that this programme (unlike our programme for promotional grants) does not ask for books to have a link to the PEN Charter; this is not one of the established criteria. 

Our PEN Translates awards are announced in May and October each year. We ask that books submitted to the programme in either of our submission rounds (April  and  December) are not scheduled for publication until at least 3 months after these announcements. Therefore, if you’re applying for a PEN Translates grant in the December round, books should be scheduled for publication after the month of August of the following calendar year. If you’re applying for a grant in the April round it should be scheduled for publication after the month of January of the following year.

The Application Process

There are two submission periods each year: the first in April and the second in October. Publishers will be asked to complete one application form per book they wish to submit to the programme. We will not accept multiple submissions in one application form. In the case of multiple submissions, please indicate whether the books form a multi-title project or are discrete applications. If applications do not contain the information we need, in the required format, we will return the application with a note outlining why we have been unable to accept


PEN Translates is currently closed for submission. The next round of submission will open after April 2015 (tbc)

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Application Form and Guidance

We will assess your application based on the submitted form and the supporting documents provided. Before writing your application, please consult the Guidance for Applicants provided and read the submission criteria. If you have any further queries and still need advice about your application then please contact Emma Cleave

Please download our Application Form and Guidance for Applicants. Please make sure you use this version of the application form, as it is the most recent.

Submission Criteria.

PEN Translates grants are for up to 75% of translation costs. Grants are to be used solely for the translation costs of the chosen title. Projects will also be assessed for literary quality and contribution to diversity, as well as on the strength of the publishing project and strategy. PEN is willing to help champion the selected books but is not responsible for ensuring the success of the promotional campaign. The following must be fulfilled as part of the agreement: Acknowledgement of PEN and Arts Council England assistance to be printed on the title page of every print run (“This book has been selected to receive financial assistance from English PEN’s “PEN Translates” programme”) and PEN/Arts Council England logos. The translator’s name to be printed either on the front cover of the book or title page. 12 complimentary copies to be sent to Writers in Translation at English PEN, Free Word Centre, 60 Farringdon Road, London EC1R 3GA. Publishers are dedicated to the promotion of the chosen title and – where possible – both the author and translator will be invited to partake in a full publicity tour. Publishers must also ensure that the chosen title is published within 24 months of finalising the contract with the rights holder, and that the translator of the published work is the translator named on the application form.

Publishers will attribute the PEN Translates grant to translation costs only and will not ‘double fund’ any translation project. They must declare any additional funding received.

Payment of Grants

Payment of grants will be made in two stages:half on receipt of a signed contract between the publisher and the rights holder and all supporting documents, and half on receipt of the translation (subject to approval). English PEN will require invoices in order to process payments. Failure to comply with the terms of acceptance outlined above will result in the second half of the grant being withheld.

Alternative Funding

Publishers are advised that English PEN funding is limited and that there are other sources available. Here, you will find a list of Funding sources for translation. The British Centre for Literary Translation also has information about alternative funding sources here. For more information on this programme, please contact Emma Cleave, Writers in Translation Programme Manager:

Call for Assessors

We are looking for Assessors to help us choose which books have the right combination of literary quality, strength of publishing project and contribution to cultural diversity.  You’ll need experience within the publishing / translation field, as well as specialist linguistic and cultural knowledge of the relevant country. Assessors will be paid a fee of £80 per application assessed. We’re looking for a wide range of languages and welcome all enquiries. In particular, we’re looking for those with experience in Afrikaans, Albanian, Amharic, Armenian (Hayeren), Assamese, Azerbaijani (Azeri), Bahasa Indonesia, Bahasa Melayu, Belarusian, Bengali (Bangla), Bhutanese (Dzongkha), Burmese, Catalan, Dari Persian (Fārsī-ye Darī), Fijian, Filipino, Galician, Georgian, Gujarati, Hassaniya Arabic, Hausa, Hebrew (Ivrit), Hindi, Icelandic, Igbo, isiNdebele, isiXhosa, isiZulu, Kannada, Kashmiri, Khalkha Mongol, Khmer, Kirundi, Kiswahili, Korean (Choso’nmal or Choson’o), Korean (Hangungmal), Kyrgyz, Lao, Latvian, Lithuanian, Luo, Macedonian, Malagasy, Malay, Malayalam, Maltese, Maori, Marathi, Moldovan, Moroccan Arabic , Nepali, Nyanja (Chichewa, Chewa) Oriya, Panjabi,  Pashto (Pashtu, Pushtu), Pedi, Romanian, Rwanda (Kinyarwanda, Bantu vernacular), Samoan, Sanskrit,  Sesotho, Setswana, Shona, Sindhi,  Sinhala, siSwati (Swazi), Swahili, Tajik, Tamil,  Telugu, Tetum, Thai, Tigrinya, Tongan, Tshivenda (Venda), Tswana, Turkmen, Ukrainian, Urdu, Uzbek, Vietnamese, Welsh, Xitsonga (Tsonga) and Yoruba. To find out more, please contact, or apply by sending your CV and stating your language/s. By supporting PEN Translates as an Assessor, you can be part of a real push to get great works of literature published into English for the first time. You can watch the 2012 launch of PEN Translates at the London Book Fair’s Literary Translation Centre here: Supported by: