Last year I blogged about support available for translation projects available through NYSCA provided that either the translator or publisher is based in New York State. These grants can amount to up to $10,000 in support depending on the scope of the project. This year’s application deadline is rapidly approaching – June 27, 2014 – so it’s high time to start looking for a fiscal sponsor if you’d like to apply. If you’re not sure what a fiscal sponsor is, definitely check back over the information I posted last year for a basic explanation. And here’s some extra help: the Queens Council on the Arts just hosted a roundtable on fiscal sponsorship with panelists from NYFA and other arts organizations, who had a number of pointers relevant to translators interested in applying for NYSCA grants. I wasn’t able to attend myself, but translator Alta Price was, and she kindly agreed to share what she learned with us. Here’s her report:
For those of you who are still unsure about exactly how fiscal sponsorship works, I have a few additional thoughts. First – and this is perhaps obvious, but worth remembering – fiscal sponsorship is a good option for projects whose budgetary costs demonstrably exceed the projected profit. As many of you might guess, both fortunately and unfortunately, an excellent case can be made for literary translation in this regard.
Second, proposals should emphasize the “public utility” or community-related aspects of the project. You will want to make a solid argument for why your given author or text deserves translation, and what/how specific English-language readerships stand to gain from it.
Another useful point to keep in mind is that there are three main models of fiscal sponsorship. Although they’re too complex for me to go into here, you’ll need to know that literary translators would most likely want to opt for Model C, a “Preapproved Grant Relationship,” as it’s the only one that allows the translator to maintain ownership of the work.
A useful economic detail: many fiscal sponsors integrate with 501(c)(3)-friendly crowd funding platforms like Indiegogo and RocketHub, and help send donors to an affiliated site (note that none of the organizations I spoke with at QCA use Kickstarter, for various reasons: it isn’t tax-deductible, doesn’t offer flexible funding, and so on). This was an eye-opener for me, as I’d never even considered crowd funding for my projects, and all the panelists I spoke to raved about it as a good way to get the word out about your work, begin building or expanding upon your readership, and tap into social media to promote your projects.
Different fiscal sponsors offer different services, so it may well be worth your while to investigate more than one. For current information on NYSCA’s fiscal sponsorship requirements, see page five of their application guidelines.
One more note: make sure your fiscal sponsor knows about NYSCA’s new pre-qualification requirement. Complete applications are due at 4:00 p.m. on Friday, June 27.