Italy Opens Translation Funding Ahead of Frankfurt Guest of Honor Year

In Feature Articles by Porter Anderson

Translation of Italian books into German is being offered substantial funding ahead of the 2024 Guest of Honor Italy program at Frankfurt.

Reading in Italy: a December afternoon in Naples. Image – Getty iStockphoto: Sergio De Michele

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

Deadline for Translation Funding Applications: May 5
Ahead of its presence as Frankfurter Buchmesse‘s guest of honor market in 2024, Italy’s programming includes funding for translation from Italian into German for publishers in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria.

There’s a May 5 deadline for applications, and the offer is being extended beyond publishers to translators, literary agents, cultural institutions, and companies that work in production, distribution, dubbing, and subtitling.

Grants available can cover up to 100 percent of translation costs, depending on the availability of funds and the number of eligible applications.

There are no genre limitations in this translation-funding offer, but school textbooks are not eligible for the program. Decisions on which titles are to be granted funding—and at what amounts—are expected to be made by July. Each grant is to be paid as soon as the related title is available on the market, the earliest publication date being August 1 of this year.

According to the cultural department at the Italian embassy in Berlin, projects for translating titles from Italian into German are preferred in this instance for this international translation fund backed by the Italian Foreign Ministry—not least because a guest of honor appearance at the Frankfurt Book Fair guarantees extensive elevated media attention in the three German-language markets, as well as in nations in many parts of the world.

Juergen Boos

In a prepared statement on today’s (March 30) news about the Italian funding for translations, Juergen Boos, Frankfurt’s president and CEO, is quoted, saying, “Behind every guest of honor is probably the largest translation-promotion program in the world.

“This also applies to Italy, which has been Frankfurt’s guest of honor once before, in 1988.

“Together with our Italian partners, we’ll again be shining a spotlight on translators at the book fair, as can be seen in our motto from last year, Translate. Transfer. Transform. We used slogan to present our International Translation Center, which featured its own stage. The focus is not only on literary translations, but also on translating as a communicative act.

“After all, without translators there would be no international bestsellers and communicating across borders would be much more difficult. I’m therefore especially pleased to welcome Italian literature’s new voices to Frankfurt.”

Ricardo Franco Levi

Ricardo Franco Levi, the president of the Association of Italian Publishers (Associazione Italiana Editori, AIE), has been made an extraordinary commissioner by Rome for the direction of the Guest of Honor Italy program at Frankfurt. He is also president of the Federation of European Publishers.

“In recent years,” he says, “sales of international rights in Italy have increased constantly and markedly.

“Now, however, we’re hoping the rights business between Italy and Germany and with the rest of the world will grow further because of the book fair.”

As Publishing Perspectives has reported previously, the Italian program for Frankfurt has a very specific an ambitious goal: “Our goal is to close the gap between the number of titles purchased and the number of those sold abroad,” Levi confirms.

“Here, we can count on the publishers’ commitment and the extensive support for translations provided by our institutions. This book fair, where we will once again take center stage after 36 years, will be a grand exposition of Italian culture.”

Armando Varricchio

And Armando Varricchio, the Italian ambassador to Germany, says, “Being guest of honor in Frankfurt is an outstanding opportunity for our country to show the richness, diversity and quality of Italian literature across all fields, from fiction to nonfiction, from children’s literature to scientific publications.

“This will make it possible to reveal the many facets of Italian culture and creativity.

“This identity is rooted in a series of unique historical moments and is therefore continuously shaping the future.”

The Application Process

Applications are to be made to the relevant Italian cultural institute, and an application form is available at the embassy’s site. Applicants will need to accompany their forms with a project description, their translator’s curriculum vitae, and a financial plan.

Publishers will choose the institution to which they apply according to their location:

In a program for International Women’s Day on March 8, Italian women who live and work in Germany spoke at the Italian embassy in Berlin. Image: Italian Embassy, Dario-Jacopo Laganà

This year’s Guest of Honor Slovenia program at Frankfurt presents “a honeycomb of words,” and you can find more information on it here.

See also:
Italy in France: ‘Passions Italiennes’ at Paris’ Festival in April
Translation News: The ‘Salt’ Project Focuses on Translating South Asian Literature

More from Publishing Perspectives on Frankfurter Buchmesse is here, more on guest of honor programs at international trade shows and book fairs is here, more on translation and translators is here, more in translation funding news is here, and more on the Italian book market is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.