All you need to know about uploading XLIFF in Smartcat

What’s an XLIFF file?

XML Localization Interchange File Format (XLIFF) is a standard file format used to exchange translation data between tools. These files can be produced by Content Management Systems (CMS) or other CAT tools.

The format is convenient because the file can contain both source and target languages already segmented as well as some information regarding the status of the segments. In CAT tools, the translator only gets the text to be translated and doesn’t have to deal with the original file’s structure. After translating, you get a translated file that matches the structure of your source file.

XLIFF uploading settings in Smartcat

First, you need to create a new project. Learn more about creating a project here.

After you have added an XLIFF file to the project, click on the document to display the settings section on the right.

There are many advanced file options for XLIFF documents when they are imported in Smartcat. Here is a basic overview:


(1) This option allows you to choose between keeping the segmentation of the document exactly as it is in the original document by selecting “Like the source file” or splitting existing untranslated segments into sentences by selecting “Additionally segment untranslated units”. This option can be useful if the document was segmented by paragraphs originally since you have better chances to find matches in the TM with single sentences. This will be done automatically during the processing of the file.

(2) This option refers back to the first option. If you selected the “Additionally segment untranslated units” option and split the original segments into sentences, the first option would revert the segmentation back to the segmentation of the original file when you export the file. If you select the “No, use Smartcat segmentation” option, the exported file would be segmented in the same way that Smartcat processed it and re-segmented the file. Typically, it is better to revert the file’s segmentation to the original segmentation because otherwise, it could cause problems when the file is reimported by the client.

(3) When you import an XLIFF file, it may already have translations inserted. If you want to keep these translations, you would choose the “Yes” option. This would be particularly useful if you had translated the file with a different CAT tool and then wanted to assign an editor through Smartcat. If you were to select “No” the translated segments would be ignored and the translation would have to be restarted from scratch.

(4) If the file has pre-translated segments, this option allows you to choose when the segments are confirmed inside Smartcat. So, for instance, if your project had TEP (Translation, Editing, Proofreading) workflow stages and you selected the “Yes, at the last stage” option, the segments would be confirmed as having been Proofread and locked for the linguistic team. If you selected the option “Yes, at the first stage” the segments would be confirmed as having been translated but would still require Editing and Proofreading confirmation. 

If you select the “Yes, for segments with the status:” option, it will open a popup as shown below:


Here, you would be able to customize the confirmation of segments based upon their status as indicated in the XLIFF file and their workflow stage in Smartcat. For example, in the screenshot above, segments with the “final” status in the XLIFF file would be approved as Proofread in Smartcat. Segments with the “translated” status would be approved only for the translation stage.

(5) This option allows you to completely lock segments so that no further action can be taken. If you select the “Yes, with statuses:” option, a popup will open displaying the statuses shown in the previous picture. You will be able to select specific statuses, and when Smartcat parses the document it will lock all the segments containing matching statuses as the ones you selected.

If you were to choose the “Yes, with translations inserted from file and confirmed” option, the segments which had been confirmed through (4) would also become locked.

(6) Although it is not common, checking this box off will allow the use of intersecting tags as shown in the help text:


(7) Placeholders are used to protect part of the text that should not be translated. See our article about placeholders for more information.

(8) This is not used when processing XLIFF files.

Smartcat gives you various choices when working with the XLIFF family of formats. You can also use Smartcat to work with most existing XLIFF-based formats. All you have to do is create an account or sign in, create a project, upload a file/multiple files, and start working.

Want to find out more? Just let us know!

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