Thursday, November 24, 2011

Funding and Grants

I’ve noticed that more and more often these days, publishers are contacting translators and asking us to find funding for books they want to publish but don’t want to pay for (or, to be fair, can’t pay for). Getting funding and applying for grants is not something we learn in university programs in translation and it’s not really something that many of us consider part of our jobs (see this article I wrote on getting grants awhile back). But it is something we have to learn more about; at the very least, we have to know how to advise publishers to go about finding and applying for the grants that governments and cultural institutions offer, even if we don’t do the actual applications ourselves. Sometimes we’re even asked to translate grant information (usually for free) and occasionally we’re begged to forgo part or even all of our fee so a book can get published.

Getting grants is not easy. It’s also quite a different skill from translating. Whose responsibility should it be? Personally, I’d like to be left to do what I’m good at (translating, editing, and writing), but I know that in this market, we have to be more willing to go into the business side of things and to help get the grants that will pay for our labor and get our work published. What do others think?

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