XLIFF export: Best practices

XLIFF export and re-import.

You can export any document as an XLIFF file from Smartcat to edit it using an external tool. Once you have changed the file, you can import it back to Smartcat. Additionally, you can select whether you want to confirm the changed segments and/or update your translation memory.

Here are a few ways you can benefit from using this feature.

Work offline

Smartcat’s CAT editor is an online tool. By exporting your documents as XLIFF files from Smartcat and importing them to your preferred XLIFF editor you can work offline, for example during a flight. Once you’re back online, you can import the resulting files back to Smartcat and continue working on them in it.

Work in another CAT tool

If you want to use other CAT tools to translate documents you have been assigned by a Smartcat customer we won’t hold it against you. You’re free to export the documents as XLIFF files and import them to your CAT tool of choice. After you finish, simply import the files back to Smartcat. Even if this is a multi-user project, your actions will not affect other participants’ progress.

External review

Some customers require that the translation be externally reviewed by their in-house or in-country team before the final layout is made. We know it’s not always possible to bring other people to your Smartcat account, which would be an all-round better solution. In cases like this, the XLIFF export feature comes in handy. Remember that you may or may not confirm the changed segments when importing the reviewed files back to Smartcat — for example, if you need to make a few more edits after that.

External quality assurance

You can use external QA tools to ensure that the translations completed in Smartcat deliver impeccable quality. Import your previously exported XLIFF files to your preferred QA tool and after you’re done checking, re-import the resulting files back to Smartcat. Verifika, Xbench and lexiQA are the most suitable for this task, but you can use other QA solutions, such as QA Distiller.

Remember that you can export and import XLIFF files at any moment. There is no need to wait until all the translators have finished working on the project. You can save a lot of time and effort if you check the translations using a QA tool and give feedback to your translators based on the results using the comments or chat. Once you update the document, the changes will instantly become available to all project participants for viewing and reusing.

Delivery of translations as bilingual files

Some clients want their translations delivered in two formats: as a translated document and as a bilingual file containing both the original and translated content. You can fulfill that requirement by exporting completed documents as XLIFF files from the drop-down menu under the Export button.

What version of XLIFF does Smartcat work with?

In fact, you can use Smartcat to work with a majority of existing XLIFF-based formats. However, documents are exported in the XLIFF 1.2 format. This is the most stable format which is supported by most translation tools. Unlike some other CAT tool developers, we are fully compliant with the standard XLIFF 1.2 specification and only add a few Smartcat-specific tag attributes to the imported files to make your work more convenient.

If you do not have any CAT tools installed on your computer, we recommend you use Poedit (minimum version 2.2), a free and powerful translation editor for offline work. Virtaal can also be a good option.


XLIFF export and re-import.



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