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Making Global Changes Efficiently with a Text Editor

Making global changes to SDLXLIFF, TXML, or TMX filesHave you ever struggled with making changes to multiple translated SDLXLIFF files? When you have a few dozen files, you can’t afford losing time on opening and changing the files one by one. This is just too inefficient. SDL Trados offers you the ability to merge them for efficiency. If you don’t want to use this feature—whether it’s because you don’t have a Trados license or you’d prefer to avoid this kind of conversions that can damage the files—here is a simple procedure to get the same result efficiently.


One common challenge we have to tackle with regard to the SDLXLIFF files is updating multiple files with some sort of changes. For example, we deliver an SDLXLIFF translation to an agency client who then performs DTP and sends us a PDF file for review. We need to mark any required changes in the PDF as well as update the SDLXLIFF files to ensure the translation memory is up-to-date, too. And we also want to update our OmegaT-based TM. Of course, we’ll have to mark the changes in the PDF file manually, but what about the other two types of files?


One solution that we’ve been using is simply opening all the SDLXLIFF files as well as OmegaT’s project_save.tmx with an advanced text editor and making those changes globally across the opened files directly in this editor. Here is a step-by-step procedure:

  1. Open Notepad++ (or any other text editor providing similar capabilities).
  2. Drag and drop all the SDLXLIFF files and OmegaT’s project_save.tmx from the project in question into Notepad++. All files will open in separate tabs. Because they’re text-based, you can make changes here just as you would in SDL Trados or OmegaT.
  3. Press Ctrl+F to open the Find window.
  4. In the Find what field, enter the text you want to replace and press Find All in All Opened Documents.
  5. The search results will display in the pane below. Check to make sure only the correct results have been found (those that require changes).
  6. Press Ctrl+H to open the Replace window.
  7. In the Replace with field, enter the changes you need to make to the translation and press Replace All in All Opened Documents.
  8. After making all the changes, press Ctrl+Shift+S to save all the files and then close them.

This procedure isn’t perfect by all means or the only possible, but I think you get the main idea—opening all applicable files in a text editor and making the changes across all open files. From here, you can improve it if you want. Here’s also a list of suggestions about when to use it:

  1. Updating Trados bilingual files—TTX or SDLXLIFF—together with OmegaT’s project memory, especially on computers where SDL Trados isn’t available.
  2. Updating Wordfast Pro TXML files in the same manner.
  3. Searching across several TM files or glossaries when searching from within the CAT program is impractical.

If you have any ideas about improving this procedure or something better altogether, please do share them in the comments.

You’re also welcome to check out our other articles about getting the most out of OmegaT.


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About the Author

Roman Mironov
Roman Mironov
CEO & Founder

As the founder of Velior, Roman has had the privilege of being able to turn his passion for languages into a business. He has over 15 years of experience in the translation industry. Roman has helped dozens of clients increase sales by making their products appealing for speakers of other languages.