PEN Afrikaans Translation Fund

The PEN Afrikaans Translation Fund was established in June 2017 with financial support from the Trust vir Afrikaanse Opvoeding (Trust for Afrikaans Education).

This fund’s main objective is to promote Afrikaans literature internationally by generating more translations and translated publications of noteworthy Afrikaans works.

Not only is the translation of Afrikaans literary works into other world languages – especially languages like English, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Spanish and the Scandinavian languages – an acknowledgment to the authors regarding the quality of their work and an opportunity to earn more income; it is also good for Afrikaans as a language. A literature that is not available in translation cannot be considered a world literature.

An international reputation for our authors promotes the stature of Afrikaans literature as a whole.

Due to the lack of an Afrikaans translation fund, a common phenomenon in other countries, it was extremely challenging to sell translation rights for Afrikaans writers’ works in the past. The PEN Afrikaans Translation Fund wants to fill this gap.

The application form can be downloaded here.

Decisions on the funding of applications will be taken by the management of PEN Afrikaans in consultation with a representative of the Trust for Afrikaans Education. The decisions of this assessment panel will be final and no correspondence will be entered into regarding rejected applications.

Applications for funding will be considered twice a year. The two deadlines for applications are 15 May and 15 November of each calendar year.

Inquiries, as well as completed applications, can be sent to:

During the assessment of funding applications, the following criteria will apply:

1) The Afrikaans work

  • The work was originally written in Afrikaans.
  • The work was published in Afrikaans, in South Africa.
  • The work was published by an established publisher, i.e. a registered company or CC with its own ISBN and marketing profile.
  • The work falls into one of the following genres: novels, poetry, short stories, narrative non-fiction (biographies, historical works and works based on current affairs) or text-based children’s books and youth or young-adult books.

2) The translation

  • The funding is requested for the translation of an Afrikaans work into another world language.
  • There are no more than two translators to a project.
  • The translation is done directly from the Afrikaans and not via another language (if possible).

3) The foreign publisher (the applicant)

  • The applicant is a foreign publisher.
  • The funds are requested specifically for translating the work and the entire amount allocated will be used for translation.
  • The applicant is an established and/or respected publisher.
  • The applicant guarantees that good distribution and marketing will take place in its home market.
  • The application is for a translated work that will be published in printed form.
  • There is a signed contract between the South African publisher and the foreign publisher who wants to publish the translated work, according to which the translation rights are granted to the foreign publisher; OR The work is in the public domain and a contract with a local publisher is therefore not necessary.
  • The successful application for funding can be a condition in the contract between the local publisher and the applicant.
  • The translator has been identified and has indicated that he/she will accept the assignment.
  • The applicant undertakes to pay the full amount granted for the translation to the translator.
  • The translated work will be published by the foreign publisher within 24 months from the approval of the application. (Provide reasons if it will take longer.)

4) The following criteria will be considered in support of applications:

  • The author’s work is not available in translation yet.
  • The work was nominated for local literary awards and/or it won literary prizes. (Provide details.)
  • The work sold extremely well in the local market. (Provide sales figures.)
  • The foreign publisher also plans to publish the translated work in a digital format.
  • The foreign publisher plans to submit the translated work for literary prizes in its home market. (Provide details.)
  • If there are too many applications for a given period, preference will be given to the following languages: English, French, Spanish, German, Dutch and Swedish.

Applications must be accompanied by the following documents:

  • A satisfactory marketing plan (which includes information on the distribution of the translated work).
  • The licensing agreement between the local publisher and the applicant regarding translation rights OR proof/motivation that the work is in the public domain and that a contract is not required.
  • The contract between the applicant and the translator(s), when available.
  • The translator’s CV with information about previous translations.
  • A profile of the publisher that proves that it is an established and financially-sound business.
  • The catalogue from the publisher (or an up-to-date website address providing satisfactory information about the publisher’s publications).
  • A sample of the translation (8-10 pages) and the corresponding text of the Afrikaans work.