TRANSLATION PROJECTS: Frequently Asked Questions

The Application Package | Eligibility | Copyright Information
Collaborations | Other


Q: How do I access the required forms for my application?
A: Once you have created a Workspace, you will see both required forms listed—the Application for Federal Domestic Assistance (Individual) and the Attachments Form. For instructions on how to create a Workspace, click here or watch this video.

You can either fill out the required forms online by using the Webforms or you can download them to your computer, fill them out, and upload them to your Workspace.

To fill these forms out online, click the button that says “Webform.” Be sure to hit the “save” button at the bottom of each form once it is completed.

If you choose to download the forms, be sure your version of Adobe Reader is compatible with the system. You can find a list of supported versions of Adobe Reader here, or contact directly to check if your version is compatible. You can also try using the Webforms, which allow you to complete the forms online without downloading and do not require you to have Adobe Reader.

Q: How do I determine my congressional district? What if I'm an American living abroad?
A: Visit the House of Representatives website at and use the "Find Your Representative" tool. Enter the ZIP code that corresponds to your permanent address to locate your congressional district. If the address on your application is outside the United States, enter 00-000 for your congressional district.

Q: My ZIP/postal code is in red after I type it on the application package. Does this mean there's a problem?
Yes. The form requires the full 9-digit ZIP code (00000-0000) that was assigned by the U.S. Postal Service. If you do not know your full ZIP code, you may look it up at

Q: Will I be able to update my application after the deadline?
A. No. No changes or additions to the application or manuscript will be accepted once your application has been submitted. If you feel you've made an error on your application and it is before the deadline, you may correct the error by submitting a new application. Only your most recently submitted application will be reviewed.

Q: How do I determine start and end dates?
A: The start and end dates refer to the official beginning and ending dates of the fellowship (known as the Period of Performance). If selected for a fellowship, the NEA will only award funds to support fellowship activity within these dates, even though some aspects of your overall project may take place before or after the Period of Performance.


Q: May I submit translations of my own writing to establish eligibility?
A: Yes, you may include in your Summary of Applicant Publications/Productions a list of translations (into English) of your own writing (poetry, prose, drama).

Q: Can book galleys count toward meeting the eligibility requirements?
A: No. In order to count toward eligibility, a particular sample must have been published by the application deadline date. Reader 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.

Q: Do scholarly articles count toward establishing eligibility?
A: No. Eligibility must be established through translations of creative writing, such as fiction, poetry, drama, or belles-lettres (creative nonfiction, criticism, and essays). Articles written in English that contain translated passages do not count toward eligibility.

Q: Do blogs count as eligible publications
A: In general, no; they are considered self-publication. However, certain curated blogs may be eligible publication sources. Contact the Literary Arts staff for a specific determination of eligibility.

Q: I'm self-published. Am I eligible for a fellowship?
A: For determining eligibility, we do not accept any publication by presses that publish work without competitive selection or professional editing. If you feel your publication falls outside of these parameters, contact the Literary Arts staff for guidance.

Q: I have published more than the required number of pages to establish eligibility. Which publications should I include?
A: List publications you feel confident meet our publication eligibility requirements. If you can establish eligibility with one book, just list that book. If you're unsure a publication meets our eligibility requirements, you may list additional books or journal publications. Remember that the Summary of Applicant Publications document will not be reviewed by panelists; it is only used for internal NEA staff review to establish eligibility.


Q: If the publisher verifies that the English-language rights are available, is that sufficient approval to meet copyright requirements?
A: 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 we do not require applicants to secure publishing rights, we 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.

Q: What should I do if the copyright holder does not want to or is unable to provide a right to translate?
A: With your application, you may submit an alternative via the NEA’s own Acknowledgement of Translation form. This form must be accompanied by written evidence that the publisher is not otherwise willing to provide rights. This is the only form of documentation we will accept, and it cannot be modified or annotated.

The NEA may contact you for further documentation of rights clearance, or for credentials/accuracy of any translation of a legal document you have provided at any time.

Q: My project is a translation of an anthology that includes works by multiple authors. What copyright information do I need to provide?
A: If you propose to translate an anthology, appropriate permission must be secured from the rights holder(s) of each respective work that would appear in the proposed translation. Combine all permission statements from copyright holders into a single PDF document for your NEA application.

Q: The work I’m translating is in the public domain. What copyright information do I need to provide?
A: If a work is in the public domain, you do not have to secure permission to translate it. However, you must provide a statement that the project is in the public domain along with an accurate and thorough justification of your statement. The NEA evaluates this justification, along with other pertinent information, and determines at its sole discretion whether or not that justification is sufficient.

Q: The written permission I received from the copyright holder is in a language other than English. What should I do?
A: If written permission from the copyright holder is in a foreign language, you must provide an English translation.


Q: Will you accept joint applications?
A: No. We recognize and encourage collaborations, but a fellowship grant for a specific translation project is awarded to only one person. If you are applying to work on a collaborative project, you will submit a statement that outlines the role(s) of the collaborator(s) and how you will recognize the collaborator(s) if you receive a fellowship. In addition, 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; conversely, works that collaborators have translated independently may not be used to establish eligibility for the applicant. Only works by the applicant and/or the collaborative team may be used to establish eligibility.

Because collaborators are not considered fellowship grant recipients, they may apply the following year to the NEA for a fellowship to translate another work; in other words, they do not need to wait the mandatory four years to reapply as fellows/grant recipients must.


Q: Will the NEA fund translations into languages other than English?
A: No. Projects must be for translations of literary material from any language into English only.

Q: May I submit a letter of recommendation?
A: No. In previous years, we allowed students to submit letters of recommendation; such letters are no longer accepted. If a letter is included with an application, it will not be reviewed.

Q: 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.

Q: 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?
A: No. Fellowships are individual grant awards; all grant funds are dispersed only to the fellow/recipient. 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 order to receive time off.

Q: What if my project has begun before the allowable start date?
A: If this is the case, contact the NEA’s Literary Arts staff for guidance before applying. Most often this is not a problem, as long as the bulk of the work on the project occurs during the fellowship/grant’s period of performance.

Q: Must my project be completed by the end of the period of performance?
A: Yes. However, in the event of unforeseen delays, grantees may submit a Change Request for an extension to the period of performance end date by submitting a Change Request through REACH (the NEA’s grants management system) at least 30 days prior to the end of your approved period of performance. All change requests are reviewed by the NEA’s Office of Grants Management and are considered on a case-by-case basis; approval is not guaranteed.

Q: Are translations from visual languages, like American Sign Language (ASL), eligible for translation projects?
A: Yes, provided applicants meet the publication eligibility requirements. If you wish to translate into English works of ASL and/or Pro-Tactile literature, please contact the literary arts staff for guidance on preparing your application materials. We also welcome conversation about the translation of these languages. Please feel free to reach out to us via

Q: I have an accessibility need that isn’t listed in your guidelines. Are you able to make accommodations for me?
A: Information on submitting a waiver request to assist you with submitting your application is available. If you need an accommodation that isn’t mentioned in our guidelines, please contact the Literary Arts staff.

If you have questions about your application not addressed in the FAQ, contact the Literary Arts staff at 202-682-5034 or email