I'm quite new to indesign so please forgive me if the title makes no sense or if the following terminology is wrong or if the whole question just plain sucks.

I have two text files, one in English and one in another language. I would like to create an indesign document such that the English text is always on the left, no matter how I might mess around with it, and the translation is always on the right. Basically I want to line up each line of text from both languages when viewed as a two-page spread, and ensure that the text from one language won't 'spill over' onto the wrong side. Like, when I increase the font size or spacing on one side, I would like the text to overflow on the correct side.

I hope that makes sense to someone. Thanks for reading and bring on those 'minus one' votes!

1 Answer 1


The easiest way to keep the text styling the same is to use the same paragraph style on both sets of text.

The only way to force line-to-line alignment across a spread is if your "spread" is actually one horizontal page made of an enormous two-column table, and each pair of lines is one row in the table. This is not workable if you're doing anything more than a few poems, so I don't recommend it.

To keep text on left and right, you have your left pages with Language 1, with text flowing to the next left-hand page, and your right pages with Language 2. Your copy shouldn't have both languages mixed together; one story should be all Language one and the other should be a Language 2.

Practically speaking, your translations are likely to be different lengths between languages at some point, so you're just going to have to keep an eye on everything manually and use some extra returns to bump lines to the next page occasionally.

  • So, I would pretty much create a bunch of pages, and just make sure the text overflow for each language goes into the page directly below? Is that the only way I can do this? I'm not worried at all about the text 'automatically' lining up with the translation - I can do that myself. I just want to ensure the document 'knows' the text on the left page is for English, and the text on the right is the translation.
    – Argh
    Commented Aug 16, 2015 at 13:17

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