Aug 2, 2013

Translating SDL Trados Studio SDLXLIFF files & more in memoQ!

My latest demonstration video actually covers a number of memoQ features so that I would have an excuse to create this video index:
Time  Description
  Importing the first SDLXLIFF file to memoQ
1:12  Exporting the finished translation
1:27  Viewing the translation in SDL Trados Studio 2009
1:40  Re-importing the edited translation for a TM update
3:24  Saving the translation in a LiveDocs corpus for later reference
3:55  Importing a new version of the text in an SDLXLIFF source file
4:25  Comparing source text versions
5:55  Document-based pretranslation ("X-Translate")
7:11  Examining a "warning" for forgotten tags
7:46  Results of the second translation in SDL Trados Studio

That is the sort of thing I was talking about in a recent blog post about new approaches for online instruction. Many times I have wished for just such an index for long webinars or even much shorter reference videos like this one.

This tutorial was inspired by a Skype chat with a colleague in the US a few days ago. She uses memoQ but works with a number of others who use various versions of SDL Trados Studio, and there were some questions about about how one might deal with TM updates after a translation as well as the inevitable new versions that legal and financial translators often encounter. 

I have also noticed that quite a number of people are not up to date on SDLXLIFF compatibility with memoQ; this video also shows that former issues with preserving segment status have been taken care of, and everything now works well.

What is not obvious in the video is that one can also change the segmentation of the SDLXLIFF in memoQ; this happens only in the memoQ environment to allow better translation and more sensible translation memory content, and when the SDLXLIFF file is exported from memoQ, the original segmentation from Trados is preserved in the Trados environment.

Also not shown in the video is how I imported a third version of the source text, this time as a Microsoft Word file, not an SDLXLIFF. The document-based pre-translation (X-Translate) worked perfectly, and the target file was exported in the proper format (DOCX).

There are, of course, many other ways one could handle a "project" like this, but the procedure shown is not unlike what I sometimes do in projects myself.


I apologize for the quirky click animation in this tutorial; Camstudio had some problems I have never encountered before, and I'll have to get to the bottom of that if I keep using that tool. Otherwise, the video quality is probably the best I have achieved so far, and I would like to thank the friend who revealed the "secret" of better quality video for YouTube.


  1. Nicely done!

    Are you saying that it is no longer necessary to prepare the sldxliff segmentation? I have had problems when trying to subsequently join segments in the memoQ grid in order to stretch two sentences into one or whatever.

  2. Chris, it is always advisable to clean up segmentation in the original environment as much as possible. But sometimes people who prepare and send the files are lazy or they simply don't know what their doing or, even if they are super-competent, they overlook something. Or I want to combine some sentences so that the words simply flow better. There are, of course, implications to working like this which I won't discuss here. Let's just say that there are some benefits to taking these steps to improve translation quality, but not everyone may see it that way. I have a better TM then in any case and tools that can make use of it.
    Maybe I'll post a screenshot of what that changed segmentation looks like. It gets really interesting if you rework the word order in a big way, which I did not. Now that I think about this a bit, I could have real fun with such a blog post....

  3. Just did a little more testing with another set of SDLXLIFF files after someone suggested that status from SDL Trados Studio and the match percentages from there would not be respected in memoQ. That is mostly not true. I tested with memoQ 2013 Build 10. I did find two little glitches. The tool tip over the lock icon on locked segments suggests that these can be unlocked, and that is in fact not true. Also, "signed off" status is read correctly by memoQ, but upon export of the SDLXLIFF file it is changed to "approved" instead. A minor oversight which can be fixed easily enough in a future build. Everything worked perfectly otherwise, and the fuzzy match percentage from pretranslation in SDL Trados Studio was preserved in memoQ and was left intact in the final, exported file. What does not get sent back to SDL Trados Studio in the SDLXLIFF file is any information on fuzzy matches in memoQ while translating the file. But that isn't a bad thing - it's nobody's business what resources of my own I may have and how much these might assist me.

    If anyone wants a test file with different status settings, one of my test files can be downloaded here. It's an EN-DE file.

  4. Hi Kevin, thanks for the interesting posts about working with SDLXLIFFs in MemoQ. Which version of MemoQ are you using? It seems that the older versions of MemoQ are less compatible with Studio file formats than the more recent MemoQ (2013).

    1. Kilgray continues to improve the quality of its SDLXLIFF compatibility (dealing with the proprietary extensions of XLIFF in particular), and SDL in its most recent versions of SDL Trados Studio has done the same for the various flavors of Kilgray XLIFF and related files (MQXLIFF, MQXLZ). Life and software move on, and as professionals we need to move with it for the health of our businesses.

      As for the version of memoQ I use: I use several versions depending on the project's needs. Particularly when working with the memoQ server (as I do with various clients or my own memoQ cloud account for teamwork), it is important to match the Client version to that of the server in use. Fortunately, memoQ itself has a small footprint, and installing and operating multiple versions is not a problem. On one machine I have versions 5.0, 6.0, 6.2, 6.5 (2013) and 6.8 (2013 R2) in use, on another only versions 6.8 and 7.0 (2014), though on that second machine I also have VM instances in Portuguese, German, Russian and a few other languages. And I have admin access to several memoQ servers of various versions for project management, teaching and consulting.

    2. Thanks for your help, Kevin. I am a project manager and am interested in compatibility as I often have to send projects to translators working with a variety of versions of MemoQ. Some of our freelancers are unsure how to import & especially export SDLXLIFF files from MemoQ and often tell me that they're not able to do so in their current version. As we only have version 2013 in the office, it is hard to determine what older versions can and can't do. It appears that version 5.0 is not really compatible with SDLXLIFF files. Perhaps I need to convince the freelancer that it's time to upgrade to a newer version of memoQ!

    3. There are ways to make all of this work, actually. You just have to understand what you are doing. I hear a lot of people go on about how this is impossible or that cannot be done, and I just tune all that out. Life is too short, and most of the time, people are not interested in actual solutions, but feel the need to vent. Not sure what you mean by "not really" compatible with SDLXLIFF files in the case of memoQ 5.0; certainly support for the proprietary SDL extensions has improved massively since then, but in about 30 seconds I could give you a workflow for full compatibility for that combination. Or Marek Pawelec and others could do the same with a little round-the-corner thinking. If I ever get around to publishing my interoperability volume a lot of this will be explained, but the principles of all of this can be derived from a number of articles here on the blog.

    4. (In case I'm misunderstood here, I don't think you are venting; my commentary is based on many different incidents, including a recent gripe by a translator who was told taht memoQ 2013 R2 was needed for a particular project, and when later the server connection problems were revealed as due to an older version being used, responded aggressively with "I don't know anything about that R stuff!", thus absolving herself of any need even to understand what version she is being asked to use.)

      There are issues which could surely be dealt with in greater depth by Kilgray's public knowledgebase.

  5. Kevin,

    can you keep the match rate in the exported SDLXLIFF file? I just ran into this problem that the exported SDLXLIFF loses this piece of information, which is vital for my proofreader.


    1. 1. What version are you talking about?
      2. Have you raised the question with

  6. hi Kevin

    I just updated memoQ to the last release, Pro 2015 7.8.52, that promises to fix SDLXLIFF from docx issues:

    Enhanced SDLXLIFF support
    In memoQ 2015, new functionality was added which enables memoQ to deal with formatting for SDLXLIFF files when the original document was a Microsoft Word DOCX file. In the most recent update you can work with all the other MS Office formats.

    and I cannot import a SDLXLIFF from docx file ...

    I already asked to the PM to "prepare" the file, but no avail

    1. Claudio, I suggest what you've probably already done - contact Support ASAP. I have not had time to look at this particular issue yet. I had some problems with 7.8.4 and an SDLPPX package with tem SDLXLIFFs from DOCX in it - two were totally screwed. I need to re-install bloody SDL Trados Studio 2014 again (had it on a laptop to keep it isolated from my working system since SDL software has a long history of trashing my MS Office installations and more, but the laptop died in a freak accident in the Austrian Alps and I would rather have a root canal than install Trados on any given day). Then I'll re-visit the whole compatibility/interoperability state of things and publish an update. Generally things look good, but there are occasional things like we've both seen that teach me to appreciate the old maxim "trust but verify".

    2. issued a ticket, they answered the SDL expert will be in charge, no reply so far
      I think the issue is severe, as usually they reply wery quickly


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