Should I use lingq when I an doing comparative reading?

Should I use lingq when I an doing comparative reading?
If it is better to do it with lingq, then why?

I would think you could do it with LingQ. Caveat…I’ve not done comparitive reading before, but am interested in it. In any event, I would think you could have the target language version up in LingQ and do you normaly LingQ’ing activities while referring to your native language for meaning of sentence and paragraphs and to a degree individual words.

If you do it with LingQ then you are able to track your progress on words as well as look up individual meanings of words.

There is also a possibility that the version that is the translated version could have some interesting translations for things (i.e. not exactly correct). Or it may not be sentence by sentence translation. LingQ could help in some of these occasions. I’m not sure to what degree this is a problem with translated books, but that’s ok. You’re trying to get a general idea of the meaning of whole sentences and paragraphs and to merely aid in the reading.

My 2 cents, but I’ll be interested to hear from those who use comparitive reading with/without LingQ as well.


I think now that Google Translate (used by LingQ) is becoming better and better, you can do comparative reading using LingQ with the sentence by sentence method.

It’s not perfect but most of the time is very good and it does the work. And in this case you can focus on lingqing and understand the sentences without leaving the software.

But if you need more perfection and a different workflow you might prefer to use specific parallel text books. (I prefer LingQ for this now).


I’m a big advocate of using LingQ hand in hand with comparative reading. I’ve done this extensively with 4 languages here, and used the method to learn Spanish from scratch.

The best way to do this in my experience is to separate the NL interface from your TL interface. What I mean by that is, if your TL reading interface is LingQ, which is recommended, then it’s best to have your NL book be on a separate “device.” Really the best and cheapest is a used paperback for the NL version – but a Kindle, iPad or similar device will work as well of course, as long as that device is separate from the device you use for LingQing your TL version of the text. But again, if you have a paper version for NL it reduces a lot of messing around with electronics and makes the reading and comparing experience a lot smoother.

I highly recommend getting both the text and the audiobook in your TL and listening along. And I would also encourage anyone to do this with regular novels and not bother with graded readers or children’s books (and I swear to God, if anyone mentions Harry Potter one more time… :slight_smile:

Why use LingQ for this? Technically you could do comparative reading without LingQ, and you can certainly learn a language that way – that’s what I used to do before I figured out I can import books here – but LingQ speeds up a process considerably. By having a build in translation interface, LingQ allows you to identify individual words quicker, and to ditch the comparative NL element a lot sooner. After reading one book with comparative and LingQ, you can probably ditch the NL part for your second book. And with LingQ you also have a better idea of your progress with word counts, read stats etc.


Through the comparative reading method, I have read two modern novels and one non-fiction book in German while listening to a corresponding audiobook simultaneously. Had it not been LINGQ, I would not have developed an appreciation for German authors. They are damn good. Nevertheless, you need a mixture of learning methods for example when dealing with short lessons I study them in a sentence mode however when reading a long novel then I use a bilingual translation in English ( which is not my NL but I am reasonably literate in it.) while of course listening to the audiobook simultaneously.

Advantages of comparative reading esp dealing with a huge book like a novel:

  1. The plot is written against a certain background story so words in relation to the story itself are repeated by the author several times over the course of the novel. If you are using a language tool like lingq, you will know exactly which words are being repeated over and over again.
  2. You will be able to identify collocations/chunks of the language in your target language.
  3. It gives you a lot of confidence when going through a novel in your target language and understanding it. You venture into a new world all of a sudden.

Perhaps you have to be disciplined and have to work your way up by looking up so many unknown words and listening to an audiobook simultaneously (for pronunciation purpose). This method may only work for you if you are self-motivated and self-disciplined. Otherwise, sticking to shorter lessons might give you a better value for your time thus working with them in a sentence mode might be a better solution for you.


Yes, I’ll think about that thanks. The problem is that I’ve already read tons and tons of books in my life, really. Now I just don’t find anything that really motivates me so much. So reading a long book at the computer could be boring. And also I listened to tons of audiobooks as well and I needed to take a break now.

But I read lots of articles and I watch sometimes movies or TV series. So I’m working with this stuff as it motivates me more and engage my “relaxed” curiousity. And doing it with the sentence by sentence LingQ’s method is very powerful as I can focus more on the overall meaning.

It’s not perfect because the translation is not “professional” but it does the work for now.


could you explain to me what comparative reading is? like the process. I understand you are reading material in both your TL and your NL. how often would you switch? per chapter/page?

Also when you are listening to the audio book in your TL, are you able to keep up in the beginning? or dp you slow it down?

The thing is, for this method to be effective, you need to experiment with it and find how it best works for you. It will be dependent on your current level and and your previous experience with parallel texts. If you’re absolute beginner and have never done this before, starting with Assimil may be your best option because that whole method is build on comparative reading and listening and it will give you very good ramp up to reading books.

Well…there might be good advice in here, but I’m completely lost.

What is “TL”? (Wikipedia has 22 possible interpretations)
What is “NL”?
What is “comparative reading”?

Perhaps my inability to decipher meaning by way of context is my biggest problem in learning a new language.

Target language i.e the language you are currently trying to learn.
Native language: Your native language or your second best language where you are reasonably literate.
Comparative Reading is another term for bilingual form of reading. It is like translating English text into xyz language you are trying to learn and reading it side by side.


Thanks! Muchas gracias.

thanks for the insight, I appreciate it. I will take a look at Assimil for sure

I think what I’ve been doing would be considered “comparative reading”, within LingQ sentence by sentence.

I upload articles (BBC Mundo, primarily) and read them (vocally) in Spanish, mostly. I regularly hit words and/or phrases that require translation (which I LingQ, Google and/or Span¡shD!ct). Sometimes (less often as I improve) I translate the entire sentence (this would be the ‘comparative reading’ part) to confirm and/or correct my interpretation.

Seems to be working well enough for my reading.

My listening skill is terrible, though. I find it difficult to find stuff that is both (a) interesting enough to tolerate and (b) easy enough to understand.

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Peabianjay, I’m sorry, but I don’t think what you’re describing would be considered “comparative reading” in the sense it it used for language learning. What you’re describing is more in the realm of “regular” reading and translating.

For reading to qualify as “comparative” you’d need to have a properly translated text in both languages that addresses and reflects not just the words, but the overall thoughts, tone, theme, as well as colloquial and cultural nuances of the original via the translation. And the whole point of doing this is to make native level material more accessible and comprehensible at earlier stages.

Ah, okay. Doesn’t sound like something useful to me, right now. Perhaps later?
Not sure, though. As my comprehension improves, I find the need to translate full sentences diminishes.

Thank you. I understand that to have 1 million words of reading I need to read around 8 books?
I am now reading Malcolm X biography in Spanish, what do you think would be my level if I read such a book and repeat it again? Would I have a strong B2 at reading? ( this books falls between 16% to 20% mostly but sometimes to 25% and I do not find it difficult that much)

The problem is, to be considered a “strong B2” at reading you’d need to be at a level of a “medium C1 - weak C2” at reading. So, no, reading one book repeatedly will not do that. You’d need to read 1-2 million words of unique content to get to that level.

I understand that is around 7 to 8 different 300 pages books?
Thank you

I agree with you, David. Using Lingq in the sentence mode has helped me reach two million words relatively easily and I feel great joy when I see a yellow word because I can work on learning it without looking it up again. My problem now is getting the books I’m reading–all in Italian–into Lingq. With GREAT difficulty I’ve learned how to do it with Kindle books, but there’s relatively few Kindle books in Italian to be bought in the USA because of licensing problems. So now I’m reading in Nook, which so far I can’t get into a form to read in Lingq, and believe me, I really miss Lingq.


I hear you. This copyright issues with books or movies when we want to read or watch stuff in original languages is nosense in a “global” world.

If you read a lot and don’t find what you’re looking for all the time, I would probably think about a VPN and some workaround to buy what you want.