Translating SDL Trados packages

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Language service providers that use SDL Trados usually send their freelance translators a translation package containing the files to be translated, one or more translation memories (TMs), and one or more termbases. This translation package has the extension .SDLPPX and serves a similar function to Wordfast Pro's .GLP package file.

How to extract files for translation?

In the most recent version of Wordfast Pro, you can use the Import SDL Package from the Project List view to extract translatable files into a new Wordfast project and then translate them.

How to convert TMs and termbases?

Sometimes, the SDL Trados package contains linguistic resources like a Translation Memory (TM) or a termbase. You will first need to extract them by changing the package extension from .SDLPPX to .ZIP (after you have imported the package as explained above), then unzip the file.

The unzipped file may contain a .SDLTM and .SDLTB file, a TM and termbase respectively.

If you are on a PC, you can use Wordfast Converter to convert these assets into Wordfast compatible formats (.TMX or .TXT) that can then be imported into Wordfast Pro under the Project TM or Project Terminology tabs of the Current Project View. Click here to download Wordfast Converter.

If you are on a Mac, you can download a Java program written by Thomas Van Nellen from his website that will convert the SDL TMs or termbases to a Wordfast importable format (.TMX or .TXT).

How to send files back to my client?

Once you have completed your translation, you can use the Export SDL Package icon from the Project List view to create an SDL Trados return package (.SDLRPX) and send translated files back to your client.

What if my client sends me an .sdlxliff file all by itself?

You can import SDL Trados xliff files (.sdlxliff) by creating a Wordfast project and adding the file to it. However, your file needs to be pre-translated in SDL Trados. This creates needed target segment meta-coding for Wordfast to work with the file. Furthermore, make sure your project languages match the languages in the .sdlxliff files. For example, your client might send you a fr-FR to en-US file, while you are trying to open it in an fr to en-GB project. This will not work! The source and target language codes need to match exactly. If you are not sure, you can open the .sdlxliff with a text editor and you should see the language codes in the first line of the file (if you don’t see it, search for source-language).

Another important thing to remember if working directly with an .sdlxliff file is that when you create the target file (File > Save File As Translated), Wordfast will change the file name by adding the target language code to it, e.g. if the source file name was text_to_translate.docx.sdlxliff, the target file name will be text_to_translate.docx_en-US.sdlxliff. Before the recipient of the translated .sdlxliff file can put it back in the target language folder of their project in SDL Trados, they will have to rename the file by removing the _en-US bit that was added to it.

If you want to extract the .sdlxliff file from an SDL package to translate directly, make sure you are using the .sdlxliff file that is located in the target language folder of the SDL project.

Tracking changes in .sdlxliff files

This is not possible at present.

Known issues

As of Wordfast Pro 7.0, the following issues exist when working with SDL Trados packages or directly with .sdlxliff files:

– Segments that were left untranslated in Wordfast Pro will be shown as translated in SDL Trados (the green-pencil-and-tick icon will be displayed)

– Locked segments will also be marked as as translated in SDL Trados (the green-pencil-and-tick icon will be displayed).

The above means that the translation progress will show as 100% in SDL Trados even if some segments were left untranslated (because locked or otherwise).

– If the SDL package that is imported into Wordfast Pro contains folders and subfolders, Wordfast Pro does not maintain the folder structure in the return package generated. This means that the return package will fail to be imported back into SDL Studio. In this case, the only recourse for the time being is to exract the .sdlxliff files from the package – or ask your client to send you only the .sdlxliff files – and translate them directly.

Future developments

There is currently one development in the roadmap for working with SDL Trados packages:

  • Automatic conversion of linguistic resources (TM and termbase) during the package import process

If this feature is important for you, please submit a feedback report. Your input will help developers prioritize its implementation.