memoQfest – XLIFF as a bilingual interchange format

Presentation by Thomas Imhof from Just some quick notes here.

Some interesting concepts:

  • allows translators to concentrate on the text rather than on the formatting.
  • standardized exchange of localization data
  • can serve as a common format for localization tool vendors
  • supports review comments, translation status of each string
  • XLIFF allows to create the target document at any stage
  • Custom namespaces and attribute values allow to extend the information included in XLIFF files

Some limitations of XLIFF:

  • XLIFF knows nothing about segmentation. [see comments section. This appears not to be the case]
  • Extensibility is limited to the specific tool that added the specific extra features.
  • Inline elements: XLIFF does not control the filtering process, so the notation of inline elements in entirely in the hands of the translation tool vendor.

XLIFF support in the current translation tools:

Thomas divides XLIFF support in today’s tools into three groups:

level 1: source is copied to target. Considered as “messy”, offered by many translation tools today

level 2: offered by memoQ and Trados Studio: opens the files correctly and handles elements more or less correctly. Use custom namespaces for tool-specific functionality.

level 3: offered by Swordfish and Heartsome, offer full support for all of functionalities and features, do not add custom namespaces. They use the “note” element offered by XLIFF.

memoQ works well when opening third-party XLIFF files. Roundtrip of SDLXLIFF files produced by Trados studio works well, but some Trados-specific attributes (e.g. segment status) are not updated.

Best practices:

  • make sure XLIFF file is bilingual and not multilingual
  • alt-trans elements are not supported in memoQ
  • etc.

Published by Roberto Savelli

English to Italian translator, translation technology enthusiast.

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    1. Hi Paul, thanks for commenting. I’ll try to amend the post asap and forward your link to Thomas.

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