PEN Translates was launched in 2012, with support from Arts Council England, to encourage UK publishers to acquire more books from other languages. The award helps UK publishers to meet the costs of translating new works into English – whilst ensuring translators are acknowledged and paid properly for their work.
PEN Translates will fund up to 75% of translation costs for selected projects. When a publisher’s annual turnover is less than £500,000 we will consider supporting up to 100% of translation costs.
PEN Translates is open to works from all languages, and it is not essential for publishers to have acquired the rights at the time of application. The submitted project may be a work of fiction (including children’s literature), non-fiction, poetry, prose or plays (for print edition), but not a magazine.
The main criteria for assessment are: literary quality, strength and innovation of the publishing project, and contribution to literary diversity in the UK.
PEN Translates will support a project when the translation is in progress, but not if it is in the final stages of production. For translations underway, the publication date must be at least 3 months after the announcement of the award. Awards are announced approximately four to five months after the application deadline.
All of our award-winning titles, writers and translators are featured on the World Bookshelf, an online gateway to the very best contemporary literature in translation.
The application process
There are two submission periods each year, the first in April–May (with awards decided in October) and the second in October–November (with awards decided the following April). PEN Translates is now closed for submissions. The next application period is April-May 2019, with awards announced in autumn 2019.
For information on how to make an application, please consult the ‘Guidance for applicants’ document below.
The selection panel (a specially selected group of industry professionals including writers, translators and booksellers) will assess your application based on the submitted form and the supporting documents provided. If you have any further queries please contact Writers in Translation programme manager Theodora Danek using the contact form below.
Documents to download
Publishers are advised that English PEN funding is limited and we cannot support every title that is put forward. However, there are other sources of funding available. Here is a list of funding sources for translation. The British Centre for Literary Translation also has information about alternative funding sources.