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Old 03-06-2014, 01:59 PM   #1
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Thoughts on how to format a dual-language book for learners?

Hi folks,
I'm looking to format some ePubs of stories for language students, and ... well, I'd be grateful for thoughts/ideas on how best to do it.

What I'd like to do is have the Gaelic text visible, so the students can try their understanding of the language directly, and then have the English nearby for them to refer to as needed.

In print form, with static formatting, I'd probably break the page into two columns, and have the Gaelic in one column and the English in the other, with lines matching up. But in an eBook?

Alternating lines in the two languages, I think, would make it too hard to read either language, and different font or screen sizes would make a mess of it instantly, What about alternating paragraphs?

Anyone have better ideas? I'd be grateful to hear them.
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Old 03-06-2014, 02:22 PM   #2
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Looks like a hard project to me. If you were using something other than an epub, then maybe you could hover over a word in Gaelic and the balloon would have English.

If the paragraphs are short enough, you might do alternating, but it would rely on the person having a pretty good idea of Gaelic in the first place. Such a person would likely be finicky about your translation and where would you be then? Not with them thinking of continuing to read, but picking at arguable details.

It makes my current project of transcribing a PDF with half page footnotes look like a walk in the park.
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Old 03-06-2014, 04:00 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrmikel View Post
Looks like a hard project to me. If you were using something other than an epub, then maybe you could hover over a word in Gaelic and the balloon would have English.

If the paragraphs are short enough, you might do alternating, but it would rely on the person having a pretty good idea of Gaelic in the first place. Such a person would likely be finicky about your translation and where would you be then? Not with them thinking of continuing to read, but picking at arguable details.

It makes my current project of transcribing a PDF with half page footnotes look like a walk in the park.
I don't think I can express adequately how difficult this would be. We've looked at projects like this more than a few times, and essentially turned the work away. It can be done with something like Azardi or Readium (someone over there is, in fact, working on something like this right now; it's mentioned on one of their homepages; a book that does this very thing.)

I don't know how it can be done, in any realistic (and affordable) way, for ePUB2 and the existing available readers, even iBooks. Sorry to be a downer, but...I just don't see it working, given everything (unless you do the entire book as fixed-format. THAT, of course, would work).

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Old 03-06-2014, 06:52 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MacEachaidh View Post
I'm looking to format some ePubs of stories for language students, and ... well, I'd be grateful for thoughts/ideas on how best to do it.
Sounds like a FANTASTIC project!

May I ask what the source document is that you are working from?

Is this a book/documents that are written in DOCs and you have the originals? Is it HTML off of a website, that you are converting into books? Is it a scan of a book that is in PDF (may the gods help you)?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MacEachaidh View Post
In print form, with static formatting, I'd probably break the page into two columns, and have the Gaelic in one column and the English in the other, with lines matching up. But in an eBook?
Indeed, creating a huge two-column table would be an "ok" way to handle it, IF you can guarantee that readers will be reading on a large enough screen (aka, ONLY reading this EPUB on a PC monitor).

The two-column table method would break horribly though on anything small, and if you begin doing things like raising the font-size too large.

ADE is notorious for being very buggy with extremely large tables (for example, text in a cell that overflows to the next page will just POOF into thin air).

Quote:
Originally Posted by MacEachaidh View Post
Alternating lines in the two languages, I think, would make it too hard to read either language, and different font or screen sizes would make a mess of it instantly, What about alternating paragraphs?
I would probably tackle it at the paragraph level, although that judgement should probably be left up to someone who actually reads dual-language books.... I would have to see how other dual-language books handle it (I am not fluent in anything besides English, so I never read one).

I see that there was a post here explaining an English-French EPUB (although the links to the samples are dead, perhaps try emailing the person?):

http://giwan.hubpages.com/hub/Dual-Language-eBooks

There is also a few free samples here showing off how they handle it in EPUB2, and EPUB3 (with Javascript):

http://www.doppeltext.com/en/bilingu...german-english

From one of their EPUB2 samples, it looks like they use this code:

Quote:
<p class="src" id="t3"><a href="#s3">fand er sich</a> in seinem Bett zu einem ungeheuren Ungeziefer verwandelt.</p>

<p class="trans">he discovered that in his bed he had been changed into a monstrous verminous bug.</p>

[....]

<div class="sp noindent">
<span id="s2"><span class="dropcap"><span><a href="#t2">A</a></span></span><span class="firstword outdent"><a href="#t2">LS</a></span> <a href="#t2">Gregor</a> Samsa eines Morgens aus unruhigen Träumen erwachte,</span> <span id="s3"><a href="#t3">fand er sich</a> in seinem Bett zu einem ungeheuren Ungeziefer verwandelt.</span> <span id="s4"><a href="#t4">Er lag auf</a> seinem panzerartig harten Rücken und sah, wenn er den Kopf ein wenig hob, seinen gewölbten, braunen, von bogenförmigen Versteifungen geteilten Bauch,</span> <span id="s5"><a href="#t5">auf dessen</a> Höhe sich die Bettdecke, zum gänzlichen Niedergleiten bereit, kaum noch erhalten konnte.</span> <span id="s6"><a href="#t6">Seine vielen</a>, im Vergleich zu seinem sonstigen Umfang kläglich dünnen Beine flimmerten ihm hilflos vor den Augen.</span>
</div>
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  • Top Half of file
    • Text is broken into readable chunks ("sentences"), with translation below offset in a blockquote looking format.
    • Each "sentence" is given a unique ID.
  • Bottom Half of file
    • Have the text in its entirety in foreign language
    • Has clickable links back to every translated sentence above.

I could have SWORN I saw an example on AZARDI/Readium's site (as Hitch mentioned). I went looking for it and of course I can't find it again... I hate when I lose examples in the abyss!

If I recall correctly, there were EPUB3 examples of the side-by-side "table" looking ones, and then others were clickable with translated bubbles (I assume all done with javascript). But again, these MUST be read on PC (or large tablet), and you will then be limited to very few reading programs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrmikel View Post
It makes my current project of transcribing a PDF with half page footnotes look like a walk in the park.
Indeed... dual-language books are definitely one of the really tough projects, and the type of books that just isn't suited well for the current generation of ebook formats.

I wouldn't want to touch it if the source was from a PDF scan. If it is an extremely clean DOC or HTML source, perhaps it might not be TOO bad (just very labor intensive creating all those links back/forth, and breaking text apart).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hitch View Post
I don't know how it can be done, in any realistic (and affordable) way, for ePUB2 and the existing available readers, even iBooks. Sorry to be a downer, but...I just don't see it working, given everything (unless you do the entire book as fixed-format. THAT, of course, would work).
I definitely don't see any way of handling this affordably.

I actually have a Firefox tab open (I believe it has been sitting there for more than a year ), with a few books/white papers talking about different methods of programming "Bitext Alignment". Quite an interesting topic. I was thinking there is probably some mass semi-automated way to translate digital texts (think UN documents).

There may be some dedicated translation programs out there that help create such multi-language files... although their price is probably outrageous. (Because they have very specialized dictionaries, to help translate entire phrases, would be used by huge multi-national corporations + governments).

I don't know enough about the translation side of things to know which tools translators actually use... I only researched the programming side of aligning texts for a few days, and haven't touched it since.

Last edited by Tex2002ans; 03-06-2014 at 07:08 PM.
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Old 03-06-2014, 07:34 PM   #5
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Sometime ago, I posted:

http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...2&postcount=13

The ebook looks like:





And here you can see the epub:

http://www.mobileread.com/forums/att...0&d=1369360020

I didn't do the try with the new ADE to see if the epub is supported or not but the code I used will work in Kindle an iPad.

Regards
Rubén

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Old 03-06-2014, 07:54 PM   #6
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Ruben:

That certainly does not work in ADE 2.0, which sort of kills it for most ePUB readers out there. It also won't work in any KF7 devices, which is a conversation we keep having. I realize that you like to ignore them--who wouldn't?--but there ARE millions of them, and particularly in Europe.

I haven't tried it on iBooks yet; I'll give it a roll.

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Old 03-06-2014, 07:58 PM   #7
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@Tex2002ans: IMHO, the doppeltext version that shows both English and German texts on the same page looks a bit confusing.
I prefer simple interlinked paragraphs. For an example, see my simple French-English version of The Three Musketeers.
It also has the advantage that this kind of output can be easily generated from a two column spreadsheet with a script or macro.

BTW, doppeltext has also created a layout optimized for ePub3 that shows each translation as popup on the same page. IMHO, this is the best format for iBooks and other ePub3 readers.
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Old 03-06-2014, 08:11 PM   #8
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@Hitch: Ruben's code works both with ADE 1.7 and 3.0.
On Mobi7 devices the second column is displayed like a normal chapter after the text of the first column, which is also displayed like a normal chapter. IMHO, this is OK for an automated fallback.
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Old 03-06-2014, 08:57 PM   #9
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But the English words don't come anywhere near the Spanish words. I would have to wonder what is the aim of the book and what is the audience?

Those learning Spanish might not be helped so much and for those who already know it why are they reading both at once or vice versa with Spanish to English. I guess I might feel differently maybe if it were Shakespeare, but then I wonder about modern Spanish and 500 year old English with metaphors that made them roar then but which require glosses now.
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Old 03-06-2014, 09:16 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doitsu View Post
@Hitch: Ruben's code works both with ADE 1.7 and 3.0.
On Mobi7 devices the second column is displayed like a normal chapter after the text of the first column, which is also displayed like a normal chapter. IMHO, this is OK for an automated fallback.
Doits:

Yeah, it works on 1.7 and 3.0, but not working on 2.0 is problematic due to devices. I don't think anything but ADE is running on 3.0 right now.

There's something else about those margins, for Kindle...I remember something vaguely, but can't pull it out of the muddy morass of my brain. Something broke when margins like that were used, but for the life of me, right this second, I can't recall exactly what it was.

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Old 03-07-2014, 03:36 AM   #11
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Yeah, it works on 1.7 and 3.0, but not working on 2.0 is problematic due to devices. I don't think anything but ADE is running on 3.0 right now.
Of course, it also works with 2.x; I only mentioned the oldest and the current versions to show that it'll most likely work with all generations of RMDSK-based readers and apps.

@MacEachaidh:
Since we're talking about bilingual books, it's also possible to create interlinear text using display: inline-block; which is supported by ADE/RMSDK, even though it's not explicitly defined in the ePub 2.01 standard.
My example ePub works with ADE 1.7-3.0 and Kindle KF8. (In Mobi7 files the interlinear text immediately follows the word it refers to.)
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Old 03-07-2014, 04:41 AM   #12
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Of course, it also works with 2.x; I only mentioned the oldest and the current versions to show that it'll most likely work with all generations of RMDSK-based readers and apps.

@MacEachaidh:
Since we're talking about bilingual books, it's also possible to create interlinear text using display: inline-block; which is supported by ADE/RMSDK, even though it's not explicitly defined in the ePub 2.01 standard.
My example ePub works with ADE 1.7-3.0 and Kindle KF8. (In Mobi7 files the interlinear text immediately follows the word it refers to.)
Doits:

When I put it on my 2.0, it crashed it, or, rather, I should say, it stalled. I'll re-download it and try it.

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Old 03-07-2014, 11:25 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hitch View Post
Ruben:

That certainly does not work in ADE 2.0, which sort of kills it for most ePUB readers out there. It also won't work in any KF7 devices, which is a conversation we keep having. I realize that you like to ignore them--who wouldn't?--but there ARE millions of them, and particularly in Europe.

I haven't tried it on iBooks yet; I'll give it a roll.

Hitch
Hi Hitch;

Yes, indeed, it doesn't work in ADE 2.0; I say that thing in my original post. And also doesn't work in KF7 devices, as we agreed many, many times But now that Doitsu tested the ebook in ADE 3.0 and the layout worked, I think that the whole thing could be useful for modern ereader devices. Of course, KF7 can't support (as many others things) the code I used.

Regards
Rubén

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Old 03-07-2014, 11:27 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doitsu View Post
@Hitch: Ruben's code works both with ADE 1.7 and 3.0.
On Mobi7 devices the second column is displayed like a normal chapter after the text of the first column, which is also displayed like a normal chapter. IMHO, this is OK for an automated fallback.
Thank you very much for testing my epub in the new ADE 3.0 Doitsu. It's good to know that the two columns layout works in that version of ADE Now, the application field of that kind of layout is wider

Regards
Rubén

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Old 03-07-2014, 11:36 AM   #15
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But the English words don't come anywhere near the Spanish words. I would have to wonder what is the aim of the book and what is the audience?
You must think the epub I posted as a layout; in fact, I don't think that the OP want to make a english/spanish bilingual ebook.

On the other side, any translation should be "literary" and not "literal" (that is word to word); the translation must translate ideas/meanings before words.

Regards
Rubén
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