TRANSLATION PROJECTS: Frequently Asked Questions

The following are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about Translation Projects.

  1. Will you accept joint applications?

    No. Translation fellowships are individual grants. However, the NEA recognizes that many translators work collaboratively. You may use a translation project grant to work on a collaborative project, if your application so indicates. If you apply to work on a collaborative project, you must submit a statement that outlines the role(s) of the collaborator(s) and the recognition that he/she/they will receive for the project. The manuscript sample must be by the collaborative team.

    The collaborator(s) are not required to meet the eligibility requirements, as they are not applicants for funding.

    Only works by the applicant and/or the collaborative team may be used to establish eligibility. Works translated independently by the applicant’s collaborator(s) do not meet the eligibility requirements.

  2. Will the NEA fund translations into languages other than English?

    No. Projects must be for translations of literary material from any language into English only.

  3. Can book galleys count toward meeting the eligibility requirements?

    No. In order to apply, you must meet the eligibility requirements by the deadline date. Reader's advance copies, galleys, uncorrected proofs, and commitments for future publication or production do not fulfill the requirements. No exceptions are made to the eligibility requirements.

  4. If the publisher verifies that the English-language rights are available, is that sufficient approval to meet copyright requirements?

    No. Simply stating the availability of English-language rights to a work does not demonstrate that you have been granted permission to translate a work. Although the NEA does not require applicants to secure publishing rights, it will not fund work that is not authorized by the rights holder(s) and therefore would not have a chance of eventual publication. You must demonstrate, in writing, that the author/rights holder(s) will allow you to undertake a translation of the work specified in your application.

    If you propose to translate an anthology, appropriate permission must be secured from the rights holder(s) of each work that would appear in the proposed translation.

    If a work is in the public domain, you do not have to secure permission to translate it.

  5. Do scholarly articles count toward establishing eligibility?

    No. Eligibility must be established through translations of creative writing fiction, poetry, drama, or belles-lettres (creative nonfiction, criticism, and essays). Articles written in English that contain translated passages do not count toward eligibility.

  6. Do blogs count as eligible publications?

    In general, no; they are considered self-publication. However, curated blogs are emerging that may be eligible publication sources. Contact the Literature staff for a specific determination of eligibility.

  7. May I submit a letter of recommendation if I am not a graduate student?

    No. Only graduate students are allowed to submit a letter of recommendation. Applicants that are not graduate students will have their letter removed from the application.

  8. For the application package, how do I determine my Congressional District? What if I'm an American living abroad?

    Visit the House of Representatives website at www.house.gov and use the "Find Your Representative" tool. If the address on your application is outside the United States, enter 00-000 for your Congressional District.

  9. My postal code is in red after I type it on the application package. Does this mean there's a problem?

    Yes. The form requires your Zip+4. If you do not know your full zip code, you may look it up at www.usps.com/zip4/.

  10. Do I have to submit my application in English?

    Yes, all application material must be submitted in English with only one exception for those portions of the original work which your sample translation renders.

  11. Can I submit translations of my own writing to establish eligibility?

    Yes, you may include in your Summary of Applicant Publications/Productions a list of translations (into English) of your own writing (poetry, prose, drama).

  12. I'm self-published. Am I eligible for a fellowship?

    We do not accept as eligible any publication by presses that: require individual writers to pay for part or all of the production costs; require writers to buy or sell copies of the publication; publish work without competitive selection or a stated editorial policy; or publish work without professional editing. If you feel your publication falls outside of these parameters, please call the Literature Fellowships Hotline for guidance.

  13. Should I list everything I've published to show I'm eligible just in case there's a question?

    No, please don't. If you can establish your eligibility with one book, please just list that book. If you're unsure if the book meets our eligibility requirements, list journal publications as well, but only as many as you need to establish your eligibility. Our panelists will not see your publications.

  14. I'm on faculty at a university. May the fellowship go directly to my university so that I may buy time off from teaching to complete my project?

    No. Fellowships are individual awards; all funds are dispersed only to the fellow. However, once our fellows receive funds, it is up to them how they wish to spend it (as long as it relates to their translation project). A fellow could pay his/her university directly, in other words.

If you have questions about your application, please contact the Literature staff at 202/682-5034 or e-mail LitFellowships@arts.gov.