Being virtually unemployed these days, over the last week or so I’ve been working on a rather special, rather unusual, project.
I’m pretty pleased with the results, too.
It’s an Italian/English parallel-text ebook.
An ebook? So no surprises there, then.
Before I tell you why I’m proud of it (and why, maybe, you should buy it…) let’s go over the concept of parallel-text ebooks.
You’ll often find me selling ‘easy readers’, which are simplified texts for leaners, with online audio – which I think is vital for improving listening skills.
You’ll find plenty of examples in our Catalog, with Free Sample Chapters to download for each.
Besides the text and audio components, easy readers will have comprehension exercises (I always skip them) and a glossary of ‘hard’ terms in each chapter (ditto).
Other than the glossary though, there’s no English translation.
Parallel texts are completely different, the only thing they have in common with easy readers being the text itself.
A parallel text has no audio, no exercises and no glossary. Instead, there’s an accompanying translation, and the lines of both Italian and English versions are numbered, so you can (in theory) skip easily from one version to another to see if the Italian phrase means what you think it does, or if you prefer, to see how the English sentence renders into Italian.
Learners who enjoy parallel texts tend to be more focused on the grammar, the vocabulary, the DETAILS of the language they’re learning.
And less interested in developing the skills side of things, so reading for general meaning rather than to focus on the language itself. And listening, of course.
But hey, different strokes for different folks. If I had easy readers and parallel texts available for the languages I’m studying, I’d use either one, or both, understanding that they would be valuable in different ways, for different purposes.
And indeed, in our online shop, we’ll often repurpose a story which began life as an ‘easy reader’, adding an English translation, taking away the exercises, glossary and audio links so, hey presto!, we now have a parallel text.
With me so far?
Many of our easy readers DON’T have a parallel text version, as finding affordable native-speaker translators has been an issue and I’ve been too busy to do it myself.
But like I said, now I’m virtually unemployed…
Which brings me to teenagers, three of which lived in my house for what was a long seven years. One is now twenty and has left home, leaving me with just the two, both of whom have passed that stroppy phase and are now pleasant and considerate young people.
My son, Tom, reads the thrice-weekly, Easy Italian News, which requires a certain measure of discipline and patience.
And his younger elder sister, if you see what I mean, has just passed a university entrance exam with what I’m told is a stunning score. So all smiles there.
But rewind a few years and the going was less smooth at casa mia…
Quattordici is so called because it’s made up of texts written by said younger older sister during those ‘difficult’ early teenage years.
Here’s the blurb, faithfully reproduced from the online shop:
Italian/English Parallel Text: Quattordici (B2/C1) .PDF EBOOK
Learn Italian with parallel texts: eight articles with accompanying English translations!
How to communicate with a fourteen-year-old Italian daughter who only seemed interested in acquiring every possible shade of nail polish?
What DO teenagers think? Attempts at conversation elicited silence, or grunts.
Only rarely, when money ran short, were words arranged in sentences and delivered in a way I could make out:
“Daddy, have you got any work for me?”
Write some texts for my website, I suggested.
Which she did, so cash was duly handed out.
Four years later, tidying up my computer, I came across a folder named “Hannah texts”…
- .pdf e-book
- original text in Italian / translation in English
- 8 short chapters to read and study
- Suitable for students at any level
- Download your Free Sample Chapter (.pdf)
Your e-book will be emailed to you within 24 hours of your purchase.
“Yeah, what £7.99? For a book written by a kid, and no launch promotion even?”
“Calma”, as Italians say, I’m getting to that part.
To celebrate publishing the first parallel text I’m really proud of, I have a coupon code which will get you 25% off this one, and the other seventeen Italian/English parallel texts in our online shop.
Carefully copy and paste this code:
(being sure not to miss any characters or include any additional spaces, or it won’t work…)
into the box in your ‘Cart‘, to the left of the ‘Apply Coupon’ button.
Then press said button and SCROLL DOWN to view the cart total, to check that your discount has been applied.
A £7.99 parallel text will cost you £5.99 with the coupon code. Buy all eighteen and you’d save £36.
Obviously, you need to add some parallel texts to your ‘Cart‘ before you can test to see that the coupon code really works…
‘Quattordici’ is here.
The free sample chapter, so you can get an idea, is here.
Find the other seventeen parallel texts, in level order on our catalogue page, or browse them in our shop by following these links:
Here’s that coupon code again:
A venerdì, allora.
Did you know the online shop had a FAQ?
Probably not, huh?
In fact online retailers ONLY write FAQs so that later, when dealing with customer service issues, they can moan about how no one ever reads them before Frequently Asking Questions…
Here’s an extract from ours:
Parallel Texts – How To View The Chapters Side-By-Side!
Viewing the chapters of your parallel text ebook side by side (so as to compare the different languages) is not hard, but probably won’t happen automatically.
There are a few simple, free things you’ll need to do first.
The file is a .pdf so will open with whatever the default .pdf reader on your device is.
These can vary and will probably NOT show the chapters side-by-side, as intended.
For this reason, we recommend the free Adobe Reader, which is installed on many computers in any case.
If you don’t have it, download it here (though I’d suggest un-checking the ‘Optional Offers’…)
Once you have Adobe Reader installed, this is what you do:
- Download the file
- Don’t just click on it or it will open in a browser, which probably works differently
- Instead, view it in your device’s downloads file
- Open with Adobe Reader (right click on the file, choose ‘Open with’, select Adobe Reader)
- In Adobe Reader…
- Look in the menu (at the top) for ‘View’, then choose ‘Page display’
- Choose ‘two page view’ (for the parallel text) or ‘single page view’ for normal documents
- Use ‘View’ / ‘Read mode’ to make the text larger or smaller so that it fits your screen
- Use the ‘zoom’ and ‘page up/down’ buttons to navigate through the book
N.B. iPad users report that the Adobe Reader mobile app for iOS doesn’t have a two-page view option.
However, iPad users can apparently read the parallel readers in 2 page view using the SideBooks app, which is a free download.
NB. Or you could just print the whole file and arrange the sheets side by side. That’d work.