PEN Translates

PEN Translates is open for submissions.

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.

The award

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 grant is open to UK-based publishers only.  For further information on eligibility, please consult the guidance for applicants.

The criteria for assessment are:

  • Literary quality (40% weighting)
  • Strength of the publishing project (30% weighting)
  • Contribution to UK bibliodiversity (30% weighting).

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.


The application process

There are two submission periods each year, the first in April–May (with awards decided in November) and the second in October–November (with awards decided the following May).

PEN Translates is open for submissions until 31 May 2020.

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

Apply (documents to download)