Travel bursary for foreign translators

This bursary is intended for foreign translators who wish to spend time in France to accomplish a translation project of a French work into their own language, intended for publication. Candidates must have at least one translation published by a commercial publisher, whose theme is the same as one of the CNL’s commissions.

General eligibility criteria

Applicant translators must have a project to translate a work from the French language which is the object of a contract with a foreign publisher. They must be residents abroad.

The original work must be in French and must belong to one of the categories supported by the CNL. Schoolbooks, practical guides and reviews are not eligible.

Applications may concern all works, even those in the public domain.

All foreign languages are eligible.

Translators must wait three years before applying for a second grant.

Application dossiers must meet the following demands:

  • the translation must not be completed before the translator’s arrival in France
  • publisher-translator contracts and, if relevant, translation rights contracts, must still be valid
  • the original work must be diffused in the bookshop network of its country or linguistic zone of publication
  • a minimum projected print-run of 500 copies, except in cases left to the appreciation of the commissions and the President of the CNL

The following are not admissible:

  • self-published books or books whose production costs are paid by the author
  • ‘intermediate’ translations, i.e. those not made directly from the original language

The application dossier

The applicant must provide:

  • the “travel bursary for foreign translators” application form duly completed (available from the French Embassy of the applicant’s country of residence)
  • a letter motivating the request
  • a detailed note on the work to be translated
  • a sample translation together with the corresponding French text, or 6 complete pages for comic books. The sample translation must represent 10% of the original work or more if the CNL requests (ambitious projects, poetry…)
  • a copy of a translated edition of a French book already published
  • the catalogue and a presentation in French of the foreign publisher
  • proof of the candidate’s income for the current year
  • a copy of the translation contract– signed by the translator and the foreign publisher – and a translation into French of the main points in the contract: title of the work and author’s name, date of delivery of the translation, remuneration of the translator and date of the signature of the contract
  • copy of the contract transferring the rights – signed by both parties – unless the work is in the public domain
  • if a previous bursary has been awarded, an account of the author’s stay in France and the published translation for which it was attributed
  • any other administrative documents the President of the CNL requests

Application submission deadlines

Application dossiers are transmitted to the CNL by the cultural departments of French Embassies, accompanied by a detailed opinion.

The commissions meet three times a year.

Please see the calendar for application submission deadlines

Only complete dossiers which meet the eligibility criteria will be considered by the commission.

Attribution criteria

Application dossiers are examined by two commissions:

  • ‘Extraduction’: literature
  • ‘Extraduction’: scientific and technical, humanities and social sciences

These commissions are made up of representatives of the administrations concerned, publishing professionals and qualified persons. All applications are the object of an expert’s report which is presented to the competent commissions, who then give an opinion on each one. In view of the opinions given by the commissions, decisions of attribution, refusal or adjournment are taken by the President of the CNL.

Assessment criteria

  • quality of the work in the original version
  • the relevance of translating or retranslating the work into the language of the country concerned
  • difficulty of the translation project
  • quality of the sample translation
  • necessity to reside in France to accomplish the translation (meetings with the author and/or other interlocutors, research to be done in libraries…)
  • the translator’s profile
  • editorial policy of the foreign publisher as well as their general respect of obligations towards French publishers
  • the opinions of the cultural department of the French Embassy in the country concerned

Other criteria can be taken into consideration such as the priority given to certain languages or geographical zones in the context of national or international operations.

These elements permit the commission to decide on the need for a period of residence in the country concerned, and its duration.

Potential award amount

  • 2 000€ per month to cover residency costs not including travelling expenses
  • Duration of the residency: 1-3 months, up to 6 months for exceptional projects

Payment method

Bursaries are paid monthly to the beneficiaries, during their stay in France.

Beneficiaries are free to choose the dates that suit their purpose, on condition that they complete their residency in France within 12 months of obtaining the bursary.

On completion of their stay in France, beneficiaries must present an account of their experience (people they met, research done, place and conditions of their reception…).

When the translation is published, they must send one copy to the Centre national du livre wherein they have caused the publisher to print the following notice: ‘The translator received a bursary from the Centre national du livre for this work’. If these obligations are not fulfilled, no further applications from the translator will be considered.

Information and application form


Contact the department of creation

Brigitte BEDEAU (Sciences, SHS)

Tél. 00 33 (0)1 49 54 68 25

Marie Flore CRISCIONE (Littérature)

Tél. 00 33 (0)1 49 54 68 88

Useful link

The French Embassy’s departments of cooperation and cultural action are relays for the CNL. In order to receive the contact details of the cultural departments, consult the FranceLivre directory.