The Goethe-Institut translation grants programme is the most long-standing and most extensive of its kind in the German language area. Since 1974 translations of over 5,000 books into 45 languages – from children’s books to philosophical treatises – have been supported.
The programme addresses publishing houses abroad, which are responsible for the choice of title and for hiring a suitable translator. Often, informative events held by the Goethe-Instituts abroad provide the decisive stimulus for a translation project. If approved, the Goethe-Institut reimburses the publisher a share of the translation costs following publication of the foreign language edition.
The Goethe-Instituts abroad are the critical interface to the publishers. They receive their applications and decide on subsidies. In this, they consult with a committee that meets four times each year at the head office of the Goethe-Institut.
Each year, the Goethe-Institut receives about 500 applications for translation grants, of which approximately two-thirds can be considered. The programme focuses on current fiction and, increasingly, literature for children and teens. In addition, non-fiction and academic publications play a significant role.
Residency programmes for translators
Under the motto “Translating Books – Building Bridges,” the Goethe-Institut has been offering four working scholarships per year since 2008 for translators of literature from abroad. The programme’s cooperation partners are the Alfred Toepfer Stiftung F.V.S. and the Kulturstiftung des Freistaates Sachsen, which makes its foundation residences at Gut Siggen (Schleswig-Holstein) and in Dresden-Hellerau available for living and working.
Qualified translators who have translated at least two longer works can concentrate on a current translation project from German-language fiction during a four to six-week stay. The scholarship pays €1,500 and includes costs of travel and board. If possible, the stays are enhanced by meetings with the authors or visits to publishers in the region. Applications should be addressed to the division.