SALC Announces Launch of South Asian Literature in Translation Project

The SALT project is designed to strengthen the publishing process of South Asian literature in the English-speaking world.


The Quad.

By Austin Zeglis

The Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations (SALC) announced the launch of the South Asian Literature in Translation (SALT) project, a multi-year initiative to fund and support the translation of South Asian literature into English, in a press release on March 28.

The project officially launches on July 1, 2023, and will establish a literary translation summer school with a focus on South Asia, eight mentorships for translators working with South Asian languages, a series of workshops for publishers across South Asia, and multiple grant programs for both translators and publishers.

“With this project, we aim to bring some of the extraordinarily rich literature of the subcontinent to publishing markets where it has thus far been severely underrepresented,” co-directors Jason Grunebaum and Daniel Hahn said in the release. According to the SALT project website, less than 1 percent of translated literature published in the United States over the past 10 years was originally published in South Asian languages.

SALT will support written work from many South Asian countries, including Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, to be translated into English for publication worldwide. Translators working with South Asian languages and English will be eligible to apply for support regardless of location or citizenship.

“SALT is an astutely planned effort to provide South Asian literature in translation with a much needed boost of funding and training,” Daisy Rockwell, SALT advisory board member and 2022 International Booker Prize co-winner, said in the release. “The impact will be felt not just in the United States, but also worldwide.”

The initiative will be run in partnership with organizations including the American Literary Translators’ Association, English PEN, the British Council, and Words Without Borders. Funding for SALT came from a donor who wished to remain anonymous.

“This is the impetus that the extraordinary literatures of South Asia in translation needed to break into the Anglophone world. From translator training through publication to marketing, the support that these literatures will receive is historic,” Arunava Sinha, translator and SALT advisory board member, said in the release.

More information about the SALT Project can be found on SALC’s website.


Note: The name of the donor who funded the SALT Project was removed as they wish to remain anonymous.