In the realm of bilingual print books, there are many "side-by-side" story books in which one page tells a story in one language, and the facing page tells the same story in another language. This allows language students to quickly glance from one page to the other when they are struggling to understand the story.

I'm trying to work out the best way to replicate this in a Kindle book. Ideally, I'd like a way to show both languages on the same "page" of the kindle reader, so that regardless of screen size, sentences that mean the same thing both appear on the screen at the same time.

Thus on a small screen, perhaps three sentences of English would appear, and then below them, three corresponding sentences of Spanish. And on a bigger screen, five sentences of English followed by five sentences of Spanish.

I haven't been able to find a way to do this, however. Thus I'm wondering if the best options available are:

  1. Heavy footnote use, where secondary language sentence appears in a footnote following every sentence of the primary language,
  2. Separate by chapters – primary language chapter followed by secondary language chapter.

Option #1 is cumbersome to build but potentially more useful to the language student than #2, because of the difficulty of navigating back and forth between chapters.

Perhaps there's some other option that I'm missing?

  • 1
    This related question might provide part of the answer.
    – beaker
    Sep 26, 2017 at 19:48

1 Answer 1


You might try using a two-column per page method for translation, where column A has your source text and column B has your target text. With this method the source and target paragraphs can easily be spaced so that the first line of each of the source-target paragraphs are in perfect alignment with each other.

I've been using this method to do a bi-lingual translation of a German hardcover book. I'm writing Adobe .PDF files, (which are non-reflowable) so I'm able to write 2- and 4-column glossaries, page indexes for each chapter, and a cumulative page index at the end of the book. I'm also able to do this translation on a page-by-page basis that's in sync with my source book's pages.

Since my eBook will be a .pdf encoded eBook a reader will be able to read the eBook with virtually any of the available eBook readers. However, that being said, I tested a couple of my two-column .pdf pages using Amazon's on-line Kindle reader and found that the Kindle reader was unable to render my two-column side by side page translation format, even though Kindle's are supposed to be able to read .pdf files.

The two-column aligned paragraph method I'm using has proven to my satisfaction that learning is much faster and easier when the eyes have only a very short distance to move to read the translation of a word, phrase, sentence, or even a complete paragraph.

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