Translation grants

Funding for translations from Arabic to other languages, or funding for cultural events is available within the European Union as well as in the Middle East. Below is a list of corresponding organisations.

The Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Center, which organises the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair, offers a range of translation grants among which Spotlight on Rights, launched in 2009. It aims to raise awareness about the benefits of copyrighting works while supporting the translation of content into and from Arabic. For more information:

The Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (AFAC) is an independent foundation based in Beirut that supports individual artists, writers, researchers, intellectuals, as well as organisations from the Arab region working in the field of arts and culture. A translation funding programme is in the works.

The Arab British Centre is a cultural organisation which works to further understanding of the Arab world in the United Kingdom. They organise and promote cultural and artistic events, and host resident organisations at their London premises. Limited funding is available for cultural projects.

This annual prize is supported by Bait AlGhasham for Press, Publishing, and Advertising (Oman), and the UK-based Dar Arab publishing house will fund modern Arabic literary works into English with the aim of promoting “Arab writers and their works to a global audience.” Translators Roger Allan and Sawad Hussain are on the board of trustees and an expert panel of judges will select five works each year, with the winning book receiving approximately €62,000 to cover translation costs, printing, and marketing.

Centre National du Livre (CNL), under the aegis of the French Ministry of Culture, operates a grant program to help cover the cost of translation and, exceptionally, rights acquisition for foreign publishers wishing to publish French-language works. In the past, however, the CNL has also given grants to translations coming from Arabic into French.

Creative Europe invests in actions that reinforce cultural diversity and respond to the needs and challenges of the cultural and creative sectors. It includes programmes that support literary translations.

Dutch Foundation for Literature like the CNL above is a government body that supports writers and translators, and promotes Dutch literature abroad. It invests in the quality and diversity of literature through grants for writers, translators, publishers and festivals. It is worth checking if certain grants might be available for Arabic language works coming into Dutch.

Fonds Culturel National Luxembourg (FOCUNA) supports translations from world languages into Luxembourgish. The grant covers up to 75 % of translations for a total of €1,500.

The Finnish Cultural Foundation runs a programme called Translating World Literature into Finnish which is a grant for publishers to translate high-quality world literature into Finnish. The aim of the Cultural Foundation is to enable publishers motivated by the grant, to translate into Finnish and publish 100 contemporary masterpieces of world literature especially from countries outside the English-speaking world. The works to be translated may be prose, lyric poetry, or essays, aimed at the wider adult reading public interested in culture.

Kamel Lazaar Foundation was founded in 2005 to highlight the vitality and diversity of the cultural scene in the MENA region. The Foundation supports research, publication and exhibition initiatives, and regularly organises debates, symposiums and seminars. The foundation has a publishing arm and has a grant and fellowship programme.

German publishers can apply for funding from Litprom, which promotes translations for fictional works from Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Arab World for the German-speaking market. The program is subsidised by the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Maison Antoine Vitez (MAV) gives translation grants for plays from foreign languages into French. Grants run from €1,300 for shorter plays to €2,600.

PEN Translates (English PEN) 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 and ensures that translators are acknowledged and paid properly for their work. The award funds up to 75% of translation costs for selected projects and in certain cases will consider supporting up to 100% of translation costs.

The Sharjah International Book Fair in 2011 launched the Translation Grant programme, aiming to provide publishers from around the world with funding assistance needed to translate their works. Grants range up to $4,000 for general titles, including among other fiction, non-fiction (memoirs, history, cookery etc.) from any language.

Sheikh Zayed Book Award Translation Grant aims to contribute to increasing the number of Arabic books that are translated, published and distributed abroad. Funding is available to to publishers for translation into all languages of all literary and children’s titles that have won or have been shortlisted for the Sheikh Zayed Book Award. It is run by the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Center, which has other translation grants programs:

Turjuman Award is run by the Sharjah Book Authority and awards a total prize of $375,000 of which 27,000 goes to the translator, then 70% to the foreign publishing house that holds the translation rights for the winning book, and 30% goes to the Arab publishing house that holds the publishing rights for the first edition of the winning book.