Learn languages by reading fascinating books.

In Interlinear books, the original text is followed by an English translation below each word or phrase.

How the Interlinear translation method works
How the Interlinear translation method works, vertical display

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What are Interlinear Books precisely?

Interlinear books are bilingual books that include the original and an English translation below in a smaller font.

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Interlinear books work on multiple device types

We are like subtitles for books.

Interlinear books allow you to read between the lines. Literally.

Explanation of the Interlinear method in two steps
Explanation of the Interlinear method in two steps

Frequently asked questions

Do you always translate each word individually?

Not always. We translate the shortest possible part of phrase which makes sense when translated (so-called semantic unit). Usually such units are words but we also sometimes translate expressions as a single whole.

Do the English translation sentences make sense too despite following the word order of another language?

Normally, yes. While we translate each unit individually, we do our best to make the English sentence intelligible when read as a whole too. That said, we hope you will not be reading full English sentences but only looking up the individual words or expressions you still do not understand.

What form and format do you sell Interlinear books in, for what devices, and do you also have paperbacks?

We sell Interlinear books as e-books. We do not have paperbacks at this time.

Over time, we have experimented with formats for our Interlinear e-books. Currently our e-books should work in the:

  • Standard (PDF) format for printing or reading on a desktop or tablet;
  • E-Reader (EPUB) format for reading on e-book readers, tablets and phones;
  • Kindle (MOBI) format for reading on Kindle devices.

The exact formats may vary for the particular book in question.

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What translation principles do you follow?

Our translations generally follow a combination of these two principles:

  • Literal but understandable - we make our English translations as literal as possible as long as they are still understandable. This helps readers examine the original text in much closer way, although it may occasionaly make some English translations sound a bit clumsy. For example, we would translate the Spanish un caballo muy bueno as a horse very good because, although such word order is unnatural in English, you can still probably understand what the phrase means.
  • Embracing cognates - our Interlinear translations of languages related to English try to highlight the relatedness by translating cognates with similar words in English whenever possible, even if such English words are not necessarily the most common translation. Thus we may translate the French profond as profound rather than deep, the German Hindernis as hindrance rather than obstacle, etc.

Apart from these principles, we sometimes follow other translation rules, e.g. inserting words in [brackets] into the English translation where such words are not directly written but are implied in the original language, prioritizing usable over obsolete grammatical forms, etc.

Who makes Interlinear translations?

All the translations are made by human translators who know both the source language and English. We also have custom software to help with the translation process, but at the end of the day the translators are responsible for picking the right in-context translation for each word or phrase. The translations are also normally reviewed by an editor before being published.

Why use an Interlinear translation over a dictionary?

We believe the main reason you should choose Interlinear is because Interlinear texts help you save time. Our human translators choose the most appropriate translation for each word and expression in their context, therefore you do not need to slow down to look up the dictionary, and you do not need to be guessing which dictionary definitions applies.

Moreover, Interlinear translations let you focus on the words and structures you need to learn at your current level: you can deem what is important and quickly gloss over the rest by reading it in English.

Can you switch off the Interlinear translations to read only the original text?

Not quite, because our books are normally read on various e-book reading devices or apps where we have a limited ability to tinker with the text. However, all of the e-books have a separate monolingual (original-only, no Interlinear translation) version which you can read after you have familiarized yourself with the meaning of the text.

Who are Interlinear books for?

The majority of our books are more useful for intermediate level language learners but we also have a few with simpler language that can be used by beginner learners, such as our German and Russian reading books.

What languages do you have book translations from and to?

All our translations are from foreign languages to English. Usually we have one or a few books translated in each language we have. You can browse our language and book list above.

Can I buy the e-book for someone else?

Yes, you can gift the e-book to somebody else (instead of reading it yourself). Upon purchase, you will get a link which you will be able to send to that other person so that they can download and use the product.

When will you release a book in <…> language?

We are working on new translations all the time. If you are interested in new texts, it is best if you sign up to our newsletter so that you are notified about their release.

What people say about Interlinear Books

John McWhorter, Professor of Linguistics at Columbia University @JohnHMcWhorter

I can guarantee that if there were more texts like this, it would greatly ease making the transition from basic knowledge to reading in a real way.

Lorraine Adams, Novelist, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist. @lorraineadams

I've been reading the stories [in Lithuanian] and been enthralled. Words from my childhood have been leaping up again for me.

David J. Brisson, Language social media activist @Languagebandit

I wish Interlinear Books existed years ago! It is a huge improvement on the frustrating dictionary-in-hand experience many encounter trying to read foreign language literature.