On 20 October, FEP attended a presentation of the EU 4-year support programme for publishers for literary translation projects, by Arnaud Pasquali and Piero Fratini, from the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency of the EU. The presentation outlined the features and conditions for the 2017 call for proposals for literary translation grants under the Creative Europe programme.

Creative Europe is a 7-year programme managed by the European Commission; the current strand runs from 2014 to 2020. Its general objectives are to strengthen the competitiveness of European cultural and creative sectors and promote Europe’s cultural and linguistic diversity. This includes support to literary translation under the Culture branch of the programme: it consists in long term support to publishers at EU level, in order to increase circulation of European books in Europe, supports 50 to 70 publishers per year for the translation of 400-500 books, with a budget of about 3 million €.

The objectives and priorities of the translation grants are to support cultural and linguistic diversity, promote circulation of high quality literary works, encourage translation of literature from less used languages into English, French, German and Spanish, and also improve access and reach new audiences, raise the profile of literary translators, encourage the translation of less represented genres (books for a young public, poetry, short stories, comics) and finally translate and promote winning authors and books of the EUPL – European Union Prize for Literature.

The main feature of the 2017 call for proposals is that it will offer 4-year Framework Partnership Agreements (FPA); with an indicative budget of 2 million €, they are expected to select 20-25 partners. The call will be published in January 2017, with a deadline in April. The FPA was first introduced in 2014; 11 publishers were selected out of 23 proposals, with a higher selection rate than that of the 2-year single projects more traditionally employed for translation grants. Under an FPA, publishers are selected for 4 years: they are granted 4 successive annual contracts, with annual grants of maximum 100,000 € (for a total of maximum 400,000 € over the 4 years); the application procedures are simplified for years 2, 3 and 4 (there is no further competition), provided the 4-year strategy is respected.

Proposals must in fact contain a 4-year strategy, together with a package of books to be translated for the first year, the approach and activities foreseen also for the first year and a budget, again for the first year. The 4-year strategy is the basis of the partnership: it defines the objectives of the project over the 4 years, its vision; it must demonstrate the project’s added value for the circulation of literature in Europe (and for the applicant), describing the editorial line to be followed over 4 years and highlighting the proportion of books from less used languages and/or genres (fiction, children’s books, etc.), and outlining the promotion strategy.

In terms of eligibility criteria, applicants must be active publishers with minimum 2 years of existence; projects must consist in the translation and promotion of a package of high quality works of fiction (only fiction books can be covered – this includes essays with fictional elements), comprising 5 to 10 works per year (over 4 years). Grants of up to 100,000 € per year will cover 50% of the eligible costs. Any official language of the participating countries is eligible, but either the source or the target language must be an official language of an EU/EFTA country; Latin and Ancient Greek can also be the source for the translation. The target language must be the translator’s mother tongue (special cases can be taken into account). Translations must have a cross-border dimension: translations from one official national language into another of the same country are not eligible.

Eligible books must be works of fiction with high literary quality; the original work must have been published already – in print or digital – but not yet translated in the language for which the grant is requested (unless there is a justified need for a new translation). Authors must be nationals or residents of one of the eligible countries (those participating in the Creative Europe programme). The activities of the first year must start between January and February 2018; an earlier start (but not before the deadline for submission) is possible upon approval. The last year of the project could be extended by 6 months in order to avoid rushing the publication of the translations.

Eligible costs include: translation costs for each work in the package; publication, printing, editing/proofreading, design and other production costs; and promotion costs for special events, marketing initiatives and excerpts of the translated works, and similar promotional activities. Management or staff costs and translation rights are not eligible. An audit must be linked to the request if the grant requested is above 60,000 €.

The award criteria for the grants are currently under review; proposals are evaluated (an granted up to 100 points) according to:

  • Relevance: how the project will contribute to the transnational circulation of works of European literature and to improving access to them; what added value it will bring to support circulation and diversity; the distribution strategy (and use of digital technologies); innovative business or professional practices devised; how relevant it is with regard to the circulation of works in lesser used languages and less represented genres.
  • Quality of the content and activities: how the project is implemented in practice; the publisher’s team’s skills (literary and language, organisational, marketing); financial and human resources allocations; the time table of the work programme (publication of first year translations can happen in year 2 as well); the literary quality of works to be translated (most important); and the relevance of experience of translators.
  • Promotion and communication: the approach to promoting the translated works within Europe and beyond; how clear and appropriate the promotion strategy is (including use of technology); how promotion is tailored to the specificities of the works and the target markets.
  • Automatic points: up to 15 points are awarded for inclusion in the package of 1 to 5 EUPL winning books (3 points per book). This criterion is under review.

The translation grants can be combined with other supports for translations, for example at national level; publishers selected for a FPA cannot however also apply for a 2-year contract under the same programme. For more information, applicants can contact the Creative Europe Desks, established in every participating country for questions, assistance related to the programme and help cooperating with organisations in other countries.