Blog post dated Aug 5, 2019

7 File Formats Every Translator Should Know

Apart from their working languages and the specialized knowledge required for their jobs, translators need various technical skills in order to meet customer requirements.

Meanwhile, only few translators work without a CAT tool. A CAT tool enables translators to work in a very flexible way and to process documents in diverse file formats. To do so, they do not need to have every program (e.g. FrameMaker, InDesign) installed on their systems.

In this article, we will present seven file formats that translators often encounter.

An Article by

Flurina Schwendimann
Content Management, Across Systems

The linked how-to guides feature numerous valuable tips and tricks on translating the respective file formats with Across.

Translating HTML

HTML is a markup language for displaying contents on the Internet. Due to the internationalization of e-commerce, more and more websites are being translated. Online software documentation, too, is often based on HTML. For this reason, it is important for translators to familiarize themselves with this format.

For the files to be translated and displayed correctly, a number of details should be taken into consideration even before commencing with the project. For example, it must be checked whether any meta tags, hyperlinks, and script contents also need to be localized. Instructions on how to do so are provided here:


Translating Software

Today, life without software would be unthinkable. Apart from computers, equipment such as smartphones, tablets, household appliances, cars, and production systems also depend on software. Accordingly, the localization of software and associated elements is vital. In this area, a wide range of file formats are used, from EXE and DLL to OCX, CPL, and DLG.

How can the WYSIWYG mode facilitate the localization, and how can you use Across to customize keyboard shortcuts and hotkeys? Information on this and more is available here:


Apart from computers, equipment such as smartphones, tablets, household appliances, cars, and production systems also depend on software.

Translating Adobe InDesign

Adobe InDesign is the world's market-leading desktop publishing (DTP) software. The application is mainly used in marketing departments and agencies. Posters, magazines, flyers, brochures, and other professional texts with images are usually prepared for print and localized in the IDML format. The application also plays an increasingly important role in the digital field, e.g. for the creation of e-books.

InDesign documents often consist of two or more layers and may be multilingual and contain cross-references. These properties also impact the translation process. Information on how to handle this format is available here:


Translating Adobe FrameMaker

FrameMaker is the tool of choice of many technical authors and editors. The program for professional text design also plays a key role in the field of translation. This how-to guide zooms in on the special characteristics of FrameMaker. Moreover, it contains numerous tips to streamline the translation of FrameMaker files with Across.

For example, you can configure the way how FrameMaker-specific elements are to be processed or remove certain control characters by means of the document settings. Information on this subject is available here:


Translating PDF

The nightmare of all translators. A typical scenario: A seemingly short job turns out to be extremely time-consuming, because the source text is delivered in PDF format. Though this format is very useful in many situations and is extremely popular both for private use and in the professional area, it often gives translators a headache. Fortunately, there are many tips and tricks that make it easier to handle PDF files.

You can convert some PDF files into Word files and modify the formatting of the source text even before the translation. Moreover, sentences that were mistakenly split into two segments can easily be joined in Across. More information on this subject is available here:


You can convert some PDF files into Word files and modify the formatting of the source text even before the translation.

Translating XLIFF

Unlike PDF, XLIFF is the favorite format of virtually all translators. This XML-based exchange format, which is used exclusively in the translation industry, is independent from the file format and layout. Thus, it is ideal for accepting translation jobs, irrespective of the translation management system used. Apart from the segments to be translated, XLIFF files often also contain matches and terminology entries as well as all context information. The file format is also very useful for creating a single file from multiple source files.

For the due translation and display, any inline tags contained in the files need to be used in the translation as well. Additionally, separate settings templates can facilitate the translation. Instructions on how to proceed are provided here:


Translating Microsoft Word

Microsoft Word is the world's most popular word processor. In business settings, this program is used especially for business correspondence. Contracts, technical documentation, and publications are also often composed in Microsoft Word. Word documents come in various formats. Apart from DOCX, which is the most common format, the DOTX or DOCM formats also exist.

Translating Word documents with Across is relatively straightforward. Nevertheless, there are some special issues that should be taken into consideration. For example, what to do about field functions or text with change tracking? Answers to this and other questions are provided here:


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