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XLF Language Translations

What software can I use to create an XLF translation?

SSI Web can export an XLF file that contains the text of all of the questions, lists, and error messages in a survey. When this XLF file is opened by a translator, they can see the original text then add in a translation.

XLF (also XLIFF) is an abbreviation for the XML Localisation Interchange File Format. This is an XML-based format created in 2002 to standardize the way localized data is stored. SSI Web uses the 1.2 XLF specification, which is the oldest and most commonly-used standard. Below is what a typical XLF file looks like. In this case, we stripped out all the data except for one question and its two-item list. This file contains the original text in English and the translated text in Spanish.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" ?>
<xliff version="1.2" xmlns="urn:oasis:names:tc:xliff:document:1.2" xmlns:xsi="" xsi:schemaLocation="urn:oasis:names:tc:xliff:document:1.2 xliff-core-1.2-transitional.xsd">
    <file datatype="html" original="836CiWTest.ssi" source-language="en" target-language="es">
            <trans-unit id="genderList_1" approved="yes">
            <trans-unit id="genderList_2" approved="yes">
            <trans-unit id="gender_Question" approved="yes">
                <source>What is your gender?</source>
                <target>¿Cuál es su género?</target>

Lines 5 through 16 are repeated for all of the rest of the questions and error messages in a survey. As you can see, the data is well-structured with tags. If you are careful, you could edit the XLF file with a simple text editor, such as Notepad. However, there are more robust editors available for download from the Internet. Some are free, some are not. Here are two popular resources our clients have used.

  • Virtaal. This is a free computer-assisted translation tool written in the Python programming language. It is available from here:
  • Swordfish. This is a commercial, cross-platform, computer-assisted translation tool. It is available from here:

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