Translation grant
Translation Funding Programme

We seek to give international readers access to contemporary German-language fiction, non-fiction, and books for children and young adults. Since its inception 50 years ago, our funding programme has provided financial support for the publication of roughly 7,000 books in 45 different languages.

Anniversary logo for translation funding © Goethe-Institut

Conditions of Funding

We fund international professional publishers who wish to translate German-language books. Any publishing house applying for this grant must have both well-documented experience of publishing quality literature and professional distribution channels.

Neither translators nor authors may apply for translation subsidies through this support scheme. 

We fund translations of works written in the German language and published in printed form by a publisher in a German-speaking country. The translation must be made from the original German text.

The nationality of the author is irrelevant to the application, with the restriction that applications for works of fiction by contemporary Austrian authors must be submitted to the Austrian Federal Ministry of Arts, Culture, Public Service and Sport (BMKÖS) and for contemporary Swiss authors to Pro Helvetia.

The translation must not go to print before the funding agreement has been signed.

Books from the following genres are eligible for a grant application: 
  • Literary fiction, poetry, picture books, comics and graphic novels for adults, children and young adults.
  • Non-fiction and essays on current, social topics relevant to contemporary discourse in Germany and in the target countries.
  • Scholarly works of general interest and overarching relevance to current discourses in the fields of the humanities and social sciences.
The grant scheme aims to support the translation of contemporary works. Priority will be given to translations of the work of contemporary German authors into languages where there are no or few previous translations of that author's work or other German literature.

Canonical literature can only be considered if the respective text has not yet been translated or if the applicant presents valid reasons for a new translation in the project justification.

Irrespective of genre, the work for which a subsidy is being applied must be of high literary quality in terms of style, form and content. The quality of the publications to be translated will be assessed by the jury.

Translations by translators who have relevant experience in translating from German or have completed professional training in translation will be supported. The quality of the application will also be assessed based on the following criteria concerning the applicant publisher: quality of the programme (backlist, current catalogue), quality of previously published translations, book design, distribution network, etc.


It is possible to apply for a text selection compiled by or for the applicant publisher.

Additional application documents are required for this:
  • Index of the selected texts, including the original German titles and bibliographic data.
  • Reasons for the selection of the texts.
  • Scanned copies of the included complete material.

  • Light fiction, crime novels
  • Specialist scholarly works (e.g. doctoral / postdoctoral theses), reference books, study materials, textbooks, commemorative publications,
  • Sheet music,
  • Yearbooks, books of local interest, exhibition catalogues,
  • Hobby books, craft books, handbooks, cookbooks, and travel guides

We do not fund the translation of foreign-language books into German.

If a grant application is approved, the Goethe-Institut reimburses the publisher with a share of the translation costs after publication of the translated work, usually approx. 40-60%. Full payment of translation costs or financing of licensing, printing or editorial costs is not envisaged.

The maximum amount per book is 8,000 Euros.

The sum applied for should correspond to the fee agreed to in the signed translation contract with the translator. The total sum of the fee must be paid to the translator, regardless of the amount that the Goethe-Institut has granted. The translator must confirm having received the full amount before a reimbursement of the grant can take place.

The funding commitment is valid for three years, the expiry date is specified in the funding contract.

Please apply in German or English via the Goethe-Institut’s applications portal.

The publisher must create an account on the portal before submitting a first application. When creating an account, select the user account type “Organisation/enterprise” and not “Individual person”.

Our calls for applications are open for a one-month period four times a year, with closing dates on 1 March, 1 June, 15 September and 1 December.

We recommend starting the application process as early as possible. The applications portal will save your information as you go, so you can complete the form at any time before submitting the application.

If you have any questions about pending applications, please quote the application number you received upon submission.

If your publisher wishes to apply for funding for more than one book, please submit a separate application per title. We recommend submitting no more than three applications per submission deadline.

  • A scanned copy of the signed contract between the publishing house submitting the application and the rights holder;
  • A scanned copy of the signed contract between the publishing house submitting the application and the translator;
  • The publishing house's rationale for the project;
  • The translator's CV comprising a list of their published translations from German, their relevant educational qualifications, professional activities, scholarships and awards;
  • PDF / Word file of the original book.

Additional information required:

The translations to be funded are selected by a five-person jury made up of two literary critics, one member of staff from the Foreign Rights department of a different publishing house each year, and two members of staff from the Goethe-Institut’s Literature and Translation Funding Department.

Currently, the jury consists of the following members:
  • Jutta Person is a freelance journalist, literary critic and editor of the "Books" section at "Philosophie Magazin".
  • Friederike Barakat is Head of Rights at Carl Hanser publishing house.
  • Christoph Bartmann is an author and literary critic, he worked at the Goethe-Institut until 2021.
  • Katharina Görig is Head of the Literature and Translation Funding Department at the Goethe-Institut.
  • Anne-Bitt Gerecke is Head of Goethe-Institut's Litrix programme.

The following criteria must be met by the applicant in order to receive the grant:
  • The subsidy agreement must be signed and returned to Goethe-Institut before the translation goes to press so that the printed book can include mention of the Goethe-Institut’s support and the Goethe-Institut logo.
  • The Goethe-Institut's logo and an acknowledgement of its financial support should appear in both the printed and eBook editions.
  • Two copies of the printed edition should be sent to the Goethe-Institut head office in Munich and an additional two copies to the local Goethe-Institut.
  • The translator's confirmation of receipt regarding the translation fee paid by the publishing house should be submitted.

In case of problems or delays, please contact the Goethe-Institut immediately.

If the translation is also published as an e-book, the applicant undertakes, by signing the Subsidy Agreement, to provide the Goethe-Institut with an EPUB file and the metadata of the e-book for the Goethe-Institut's electronic library (Onleihe).

Next application periods

1 May to 1 June 2024 for translations going to press in September 2024 or later. The funding decision will be communicated to the applicant by email on 20 July 2024.

15 August to 15 September 2024 for translations going to press in December 2024 or later.

For applications submitted between 1 February and 1 March 2024, applicants will be notified by email on 10 May 2024.
Our calls for proposals are open for a one-month period four times a year, with closing dates on 1 March, 1 June, 15 September and 1 December.

Further information

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