Years ago, when I was learning Spanish, I used to read a book of Spanish short stories published by Penguin. Twenty-odd years later, it’s still in print.
All the stories in it are by great Spanish writers. But that’s not why I read them; apart from anything else, my Spanish in those days was nowhere near good enough to appreciate their literary quality.
I read them because they came with parallel translations in English; Spanish on the left page, English on the right. In theory you could read a line in the original then jump across to the English version and check how you were doing. Even if you don’t like jumping, you always have the translation to see how you’re doing.
I still have the book, and I still read it occasionally. There’s something reassuring about having a full translation at your fingertips when you read in a foreign language, the idea that you won’t be left stranded if a tricky verb construction simply defeats you at a key moment in the story, ruining everything. These days parallel bilingual books for kids are pretty common, but not so much for adults. Continue reading “Bilingual eBooks”