I'm going to borrow and then adapt some of what is on this page.

--- left side of page 1 ---
this is an english text
which spans over several pages
--- right side of page 1 ---
ceci est un texte anglais
qui s'étale sur plusieurs pages
--- left side of page 2 ---
this is the end of the english text
--- right side of page 2 ---
ceci est la fin du texte en anglais

How do I make LaTeX do that?

  • 7
    – Keks Dose
    Commented Oct 2, 2021 at 16:54
  • @KeksDose I knew that there were a couple of packages but couldn't remember their names. Thanks for providing the list of them. Commented Oct 2, 2021 at 17:31

1 Answer 1


For two column with different languages side by side it is helpful the package paracol.

For other options see https://www.ctan.org/topic/parallel

This example will help you to get started.


The green lines in the figure mark the starting of the (three) paragraphs chosen to be synchronized.

Use \switchcolumn to change columns or \switchcolumn* to syncronize the texts.


\usepackage[american, french]{babel}


\title{ Ball of Lard \hfill Boule de Suif }

\date{April 1880}

\usepackage{paracol} % needed <<<<<



\setcolumnwidth{0.40\textwidth/20pt, 0.40\textwidth} % column width + column inter space

    For several days in succession fragments of a defeated army had passed through the town. 
    They were mere disorganized bands, not disciplined forces. 
    The men wore long, dirty beards and tattered uniforms; they advanced in listless fashion, without a flag, without a leader.
    All seemed exhausted, worn out, incapable of thought or resolve, marching onward merely by force of habit, and dropping to the ground with fatigue the moment they halted.

Pendant plusieurs jours de suite des lambeaux d’armée en déroute avaient traversé la ville. 

Ce n’était point de la troupe, mais des hordes débandées. 
Les hommes avaient la barbe longue et sale, des uniformes en guenilles, et ils avançaient d’une allure molle, 
sans drapeau, sans régiment. Tous semblaient accablés, éreintés, incapables d’une pensée ou d’une résolution,   marchant seulement par habitude, et tombant de fatigue sitôt qu’ils s’arrêtaient. 

\switchcolumn*  % syncronize
    One saw, in particular, many enlisted men, pea\-ceful citizens, men who lived quietly on their income, bending beneath the weight of their rifles; and little active volunteers,
    easily frightened but full of enthusiasm, as eager to attack as they were ready to take to flight; and amid these, a sprinkling of red-breeched soldiers,
    the pitiful remnant of a division cut down in a great battle; somber artillerymen, side by side with nondescript foot-soldiers;
    and, here and there, the gleaming helmet of a heavy-footed dragoon who had difficulty in
    keeping up with the quicker pace of the soldiers of the line.

On voyait surtout des mobilisés, gens pacifiques, rentiers tranquilles,  pliant sous le poids du fusil;  des petits moblots alertes,    faciles à l’épouvante et prompts à l’enthousiasme, prêts à l’attaque comme à la fuite; 
puis, au milieu d’eux, quelques culottes rouges, débris d’une division moulue dans une gran\-de bataille;   des artilleurs sombres alignés avec des fantassins divers; et, parfois, le casque brillant d’un dragon au pied pesant qui suivait avec peine la marche plus légère des lignards.

\switchcolumn*  % syncronize
    Legions of irregulars with high---sounding na\-mes ``Avengers of Defeat'', ``Citizens of the Tomb'', ``Breth\-ren in Death''---passed in their turn, looking like banditti. 

Des légions de francs---tireurs aux appellations héroïques : « les Vengeurs de la Défaite, les Citoyens de la Tombe,
les Partageurs de la Mort » --- passaient à leur tour, avec des airs de bandits.

\switchcolumn*% syncronize
    Their leaders, former drapers or grain merchants, or tallow or soap chandlers---warriors by force of circumstances, officers by reason of their mustachios or their money---covered with weapons, flannel and gold lace, spoke in an impressive manner,
    discussed plans of campaign,and behaved as though they alone bore the fortunes of dying France on their braggart shoulders; 
    though, in truth, they frequently were afraid of their own men---scoundrels often brave beyond measure, but pillagers and debauchees.

Leurs chefs, anciens commerçants en draps ou en graines, ex--marchands de suif ou de savon, guerriers de circonstance, 
nommés officiers pour leurs écus ou la longueur de leurs moustaches, couverts d’armes, de flanelle et de galons, 
parlaient d’une voix retentissante, discutaient plans de campagne, et prétendaient soutenir seuls la France agonisante sur leurs épaules de fanfarons;
mais ils redoutaient parfois leurs propres soldats, gens de sac et de corde, souvent braves à outrance, pillards et débauchés.


% text taken from http://learn-french-free-with-stories.weebly.com/p1s-boule-de-suif---guy-de-maupassant-free-online-intermediate-level-french-english-spanish-bilingual-short-story-parallel-text.html
  • Did the person who translated this into English decide to put the boundaries between paragraphs in different places from where they are in French (perhaps because English conventions on paragraphs are different from those of French?), or might those result from keeping corresponding things close to each other? Commented Oct 3, 2021 at 19:52
  • @Michael Hardy The second. I was looking more closely at hyphenation patterns and the sync to align some chosen paragraphs when some text in one language is much longer than in the other. Commented Oct 3, 2021 at 20:21

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