Displaying parallel documents in one window

Hello everyone,

I find myself writing articles in more than one language, which means I have to translate them. In Scrivener, I think it would be useful to have parallel documents to do that (I’d like to keep the different language version in one project). What would be the best practice here in your opinion/experience?

Thanks in advance,

Organize each article/language however you prefer (a folder for each language, or indent the translation(s) under the original article, etc.), whatever helps you produce the article in every language you need to. But do start with blank documents for every language you’re going to be translating to.

Then in the main document, use the Bookmarks feature to link to the documents you’re going to translate into. You’ll be able to view and even edit the original/translations in the inspector while working on any of the related documents in the main editor. But the main advantage to the bookmarks feature is that you’ll be able to maintain a connection between them without being constrained by the outline structure of the binder.

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I have been using Scrivener for Chinese–English translation for many years now—in collaboration with a friend in China—and we use:

  1. Split screen left and right, with the source in one split and the translation in the other.

  2. Most importantly, the source document is split down into small sections. If the final document has to have the languages interleaved, this can mean down to headings as separate binder documents even though they only contain a few words, and the binder documents are interleaved. If the final document is not going to be interleaved, then we use separate top level folders under Draft, one for each language and then split into smaller sections as is convenient; I would split down more than she does, it makes no difference at compile time but keeps everything running quickly.

  3. We use labels to mark each binder document as being in the relevant language, use “Show Labels in Binder” and, most importantly for interleaved documents (which are normally Chinese → English), have two collections based on those labels as it enables me to use Scrivenings mode read through the English as a whole while keeping the binder interleaved.

  4. By default, the inspector is open for comments, which we use to discuss issues.


  1. What Scrivener can’t do is scroll both splits simultaneously, so splitting down so that each binder document is small mitigates that problem.

  2. If you intend to have a parallel text as the final document, you’ll need to compile and then to move on to a page-oriented app, which for me would be Affinity Publisher.

Hope that helps.



Hi Rdale, hi xiamenese,

Thank you both very much for your quick and helpful comments. I’ll go through your suggestions and see how it works out for me. Thanks again!