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Common Errors in OmegaT

Photo by Eli Christman,

Do you want to become a power user of OmegaT and fix most problems quickly without asking for help? Read this article to learn about the most common errors that you may encounter in OmegaT and how to solve them.

OmegaT does not launch

The most common cause is problems with Java. Download and install the latest Java (32 or 64 bit depending on your OS). Go to Java installation folder, which is usually c:Program FilesJavajre7. Copy the entire contents of this folder to a subfolder called jre in your OmegaT installation folder, which is usually c:Program Files (x86)OmegaTjre. The next time you launch OmegaT, it will use Java from this subfolder instead of the default one.

OmegaT does not read Microsoft Office files

When you put DOC, XLS, or PPT files into the source subfolder of a project, OmegaT fails to recognize them. The reason is that the Microsoft Open XML filter in OmegaT can only recognize newer Microsoft file formats, i.e. DOCX, XLSX, or PPTX. All you need to do is convert your older format files into the newer format.

Microsoft Word or PowerPoint file is riddled with tags

This problem is also called a “tag soup.” There is no single best solution to this problem. Your first option is to remove these tags from the original files. For Microsoft Word, you can try using an add-in such as CodeZapper or TransTools. For PowerPoint, you can try switching the languages of the entire text (can be different) to a single source language. The second option is to use the Remove Tags function under Project > Properties. The caveat of this function is that it removes not just the superfluous tags, but also the important tags such as bold or italics. As a result, you will need to restore formatting manually in the translated files that OmegaT will produce.

OmegaT creates empty target Microsoft Word files

You enabled the Remove Tags function as described above, and OmegaT cannot save the target file properly with tags removed. You will have to disable this function, reload the project, and insert any missing translations manually from the TM to produce the target file. Because of this error, I recommend doing a roundtrip before translating a  project with the Remove Tags checkbox enabled.

Panes are missing or messed up

You can restore the default view at any time by clicking Options > Restore Main Window.

Spell-checking does not work

First, go to Options > Spell Checking and check if you have the necessary dictionary and have enabled the checkbox called Automatically check the spelling of text. Next, make sure that the target language of your project (Project > Properties > Translated Files Language) such as ru-ru matches the language combination in the respective spell checking dictionary such as ru_RU – Russian.

OmegaT does not recognize TMX files

This problem is similar to the one above—the language combinations in your project and TMX files do not match. Change the language combination in the project properties accordingly.

OmegaT does not display a tag in the beginning or the end of a segment, but I need to move it to another place in translation

Go to Options > File Filters and disable Remove leading and trailing tags. After reloading the project, these tags should appear. You can also enable this function on a per project basis under Project > Properties > File Filters.

If anything in this article helped you or you have another question, feel free to add a comment below. For more information about getting the most out of OmegaT, check out other materials about the translation program OmegaT in our blog.


  • Marco Cevoli says:

    It’s worth mentioning that the tag soup is an issue common to most CAT tools, not something specific to OmegaT. Another workaround is to open the DOCX in OpenOffice / LibreOffice, save it as ODT and translate the ODT in OmegaT. Sometimes it solves the issue with tags (not always).

    • Hi Marco,
      This is true, thanks for your comment. Does ODT also create formatting challenges due to file format conversions?
      I have just realized I have never seen the tag soup in SDLXLIFF files. It seems Studio knows how to deal with it internally.
      Best regards,

  • Manu says:

    That did fix my spell checker problem, thank you!!

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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.