British Centre for Literary Translation

Opportunities funding, competitions and help for translators


PEN Translates!

PEN Translates! is run by English PEN and is backed by Arts Council England. This major fund for literary translation distributes £120,000 per year to translators and publishers and will support up to 20 works of outstanding literary merit translated from any world language.

Applications are open to all literary genres including fiction, non-fiction, poetry and plays. The fund is open to submissions from all UK-based publishers.

English PEN also produce a useful spreadsheet listing possible sources of funding for translators working in the UK and Europe.

Find out more

Literature Across Frontiers

Literature Across Frontiers is a European platform for literary exchange, translation and policy debate.  Surveys of national organisations and publishers supporting literary translation can be downloaded from the LAF website.  LAF also publishes data and statistics on literary translations in the UK and Ireland.

Find out more at the LAF website

Download the list of publishers in the UK and Ireland who publish translations


BCLT is a member of RECIT, the network for European literary translation houses. Visit the RECIT website for more information about residencies at translation centres in the network.

BCLT hosts the Charles Wallace India trust residencies for translators from India. Unfortunately we are not able to offer a residency programme for translators from other languages.

Charles Wallace India Trust

Find out more about the Charles Wallace India Trust

PEN Promotes!

This programme awards grants to UK publishers to help, promote, market and champion titles that are being translated into English and are under contract to be published.

Find out how to apply at the English PEN website

John Dryden Translation Competition

Sponsored jointly by BCLT and the British Comparative Literature Association (BCLA)

Congratulations to the winning and commended entries in the 2014 John Dryden Translation Competition. The first prize was won by Lesley Lawn for her translation from French of  ‘La Muette’ by Chahdortt Djavann

Winners have been invited to read from their translations at the prize giving event on 4 October at SOAS, University of London,  as part of the BCLA’s AGM and Colloquy.

The  2014-15 competition is now open for entries. The closing date is 16 February 2015.

Find out more at the BCLA website

Joseph Brodsky/Stephen Spender Prize 2014

The 2014 Joseph Brodsky/Stephen Spender Prize for the translation of Russian poetry into English is now open for entries.

Judged by Sasha Dugdale, Catriona Kelly and Glyn Maxwell and now in association with the London Magazine, this biennial prize celebrates the long friendship between Joseph Brodsky and Stephen Spender as well as the rich tradition of Russian poetry.

The closing date is Friday 5 December 2014.

Enter now at the Stephen Spender Trust website

Emerging Translators Network

The Emerging Translators Network is a forum and support network for early-career literary translators working into English (primarily) and focused essentially on the UK, although there is clearly an interest in the wider English-language publishing world.

ETN provides an email-based discussion group, where you can ask questions, seek and give advice, exchange tips and resources, post details of events and opportunities or even pass on work. Occasional meetings, socials, events and workshops are held in London throughout the year. Members outside London also organize meetings in their own areas.

It’s free to join, but prospective members should demonstrate a genuine interest in developing a career in literary translation

Find out more at the Emerging Translators Network website

Translate in the City

Save the date for the Translate in the City Summer School 2015.

This immersion course in literary translation across the genres takes place at City University London  6-10 July 2015. Booking opens January 2015.


The Stephen Spender Prize

Translate a poem from any language, classical or modern, into English.

Find out more at the Stephen Spender Trust website

Payment Rates for Literary Translation

The negotiation of fees is a matter for the individual translator and client to resolve.

It is the experience of the Society of Authors, when reviewing contracts, that UK publishers are prepared to pay in the region of £88.50 per 1,000 words.

Find out more at the Translators Association website

The Harvill Secker Young Translators’ Prize

The Harvill Secker Young Translators’ Prize 2014 was won by Eleanor Collins.

Eleanor was presented with her award at a special event at the Cheltenham Literature Festival on 4 October. Her prize includes a BCLT mentorship  in German with Shaun Whiteside .

Find  out more at  the Harvill Secker Young Translators’ Prize website


EC Grants for Literary Translation

The first calls for proposals under the Creative Europe Programme opened in December 2013.

The Culture programme of Creative Europe supports critical and creative organisations and aims to help them operate transnationally and to promote cultural mobility. It funds literary translation projects, co-operation projects, networks and platforms.

Find out more about Creative Europe