This paper aims to introduce the issues related to the syntactic alignment of a dependency-based multilingual parallel treebank, ParTUT. Our approach to the task starts from a lexical mapping and then attempts to expand it using dependency relations. In developing the system, however, we realized that the only dependency relations between the individual nodes were not sufficient to overcome some translation divergences, or shifts, especially in the absence of a direct lexical mapping and a different syntactic realization. For this purpose, we explored the use of a novel syntactic notion introduced in dependency theoretical framework, i.e. that of catena (Latin for “chain”), which is intended as a group of words that are continuous with respect to dominance. In relation to the task of aligning parallel dependency structures, catenae can be used to explain and identify those cases of one-to-many or many-to-many correspondences, typical of several translation shifts, that cannot be detected by means of direct word-based mappings or bare syntactic relations. The paper presented here describes the overall structure of the alignment system as it has been currently designed, how catenae are extracted from the parallel resource, and their potential relevance to the completion of tree alignment in ParTUT sentences.