TRANSLATION PROJECTS: Eligibility

Individual translators who meet the publication requirements listed below are eligible to apply. Applicants must be citizens or permanent residents of the United States. See "How to Apply” for the documentation that is required to demonstrate eligibility. Ineligible applications will be rejected without panel review.

An individual may submit only one application for FY 2024 Literature Fellowships funding. You may not apply for both a Translation Project at this deadline (January 12, 2023) and a Literature Fellowship in Prose at the 2023 deadline. See Literature Fellowships for more information.

You may not apply:

  • If you have received three or more Fellowships (in poetry, prose, or for translation) from the NEA.
  • If you have received any NEA Creative Writing Literature Fellowship (in prose or poetry) on or after January 1, 2018 or any NEA Translation Fellowship on or after January 1, 2020.
  • With the same project for more than three consecutive years.

Previous grantees must have submitted acceptable Final Report packages by the due date(s) for all NEA award(s) previously received.

You are eligible to apply if you, alone or in collaboration, have:

  • Published a total of at least 20 pages of translations of creative literature into English in curated digital or print formats such as literary magazines, anthologies, or books; or
  • Published a translation into English of a novel or a volume of at least 20 pages of fiction, poetry, drama, or belles-lettres (creative nonfiction, criticism, and essays); or
  • Had published, presented, or produced by a professional theater company at least one full-length play that you translated into English.

This publication or production must have taken place between January 1, 2008, and January 12, 2023. To qualify, work must have been originally published with an eligible publisher between these dates, not only reprinted or reissued in another format during this period. Eligible publishers have a competitive selection process and offer some service or services to their writers, such as editing and proofreading; formatting and design; and/or promotion, marketing, and distribution. Student-led publications and publications that primarily print work by persons who are affiliated with a particular academic institution are not eligible.

You may use digital, audio, or online publications to establish eligibility, provided that such publications have competitive selection processes and offer professional editing. If the online publication or website no longer exists, you must provide, upon request, sufficient evidence that your work once appeared online. If sufficient evidence cannot be provided, the online publication cannot be used to establish your eligibility.

The following content may not be used to establish eligibility:

  • Pre-publication material, such as galleys, proofs, and advance reader's copies.
  • Work that has appeared in a publication for which you are the editor, publisher, or staff.
  • Scholarly writing.
  • Instructional writing.
  • News reporting.
  • Book reviews.
  • Editorials/letters to the editor.
  • Interviews.

Eligibility is determined by the NEA based on your complete and properly submitted documentation. Your application may not be eligible for panel review if incorrect or insufficient information is provided. This includes, but is not limited to: missing or blank attachments; manuscripts that are not typescript; and publications in the "Summary of Applicant Publications/Productions" (Attachment 3) that cannot be verified. Our decision on eligibility cannot be appealed and is final. For more information, see "How to Apply"

Copyright Information

You must include one of the following with your application:

  • Written permission from the copyright holder that grants you the right to translate the work specified in your application. Note: We do not require that you secure the right to publish; or
  • Written proof that the copyright holder is not willing to provide the right to translate the work specified in the application but does not object to the translation AND a copy of the NEA’s “Acknowledgement of Translation” form (available here) signed by the copyright holder or their authorized representative; or
  • If the work resides in the public domain, you should state that and provide a thorough justification in Attachment 4. The justification must include information about how and why the project has lapsed into the public domain. Mere statements, including but not limited to statements that the work is in the public domain because no rights holders exist or all rights holders are deceased, will not be sufficient for these purposes.

The NEA may evaluate the information you provide for accuracy or consistency with U.S. law and treaty obligations at its discretion. Remember that simply stating the availability of permissions is not the equivalent of securing permission from the rights holder or their authorized representative to translate the work specified in your application.

In cases where a work’s public domain status is ambiguous, the NEA will evaluate, in its discretion, all pertinent information available to determine whether the work’s public domain status has been sufficiently established for purposes of a particular application. Such a determination is the NEA’s alone and is not sufficient in any way to support a claim by the applicant or any third party that a work is conclusively a public domain work under the laws and treaties of the United States or any foreign jurisdiction.

The NEA may, at its discretion, evaluate information provided under this section or in follow-up questions about the copyright status of this inquiry to inform any holistic assessment of artistic excellence and merit.

Your application may not be eligible if incorrect or insufficient information is provided in Attachment 4 of your application. See "How to Apply" for details.

For further information, consult the U.S. Department of State’s website which links to a list of Treaties in Force.

The National Endowment for the Arts reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to determine whether the permissions provided are satisfactory to it.

The National Endowment for the Arts makes no representations as to who may own copyrights, if any, arising from any translations it funds under this program.