Right now, there is no easy way to process SDLXLIFF files in OmegaT. All current methods have their drawbacks. I already wrote extensively about translating SDLXLIFF files in the past, but after a few related discussions on the OmegaT forum, I decided to compile a short table listing all current SDLXLIFF translation methods. Until we have one best method, translators processing SDLXLIFF with OmegaT can use this table as guidance when choosing among the four methods. I will also explain why I believe the Okapi filter is the most promising.
IMPORTANT! With all methods except the native filter, a roundtrip (saving target SDLXLIFF files and opening them with SDL Trados Studio before starting the actual translation) is absolutely essential.
Native XLIFF filter in OmegaT
|The most reliable filter currently||Requires segmentation of files with Studio|
|Enables processing SDLXLIFF files directly, without conversion into an intermediate format and accompanying problems||Has problems with the header tag|
|Allows adjusting (optimizing) the source text displaying in OmegaT easily. Since OmegaT reads the target part of SDLXLIFFs, you can safely make optimization changes to that part directly in SDLXLIFFs without affecting the source part. Result: optimized text for translation in OmegaT, no visible changes in the source part of SDLXLIFFs.||Does not support 100% matches in files. 100% matches need to be re-inserted in OmegaT from a TMX. If SDLXLIFF files have two or more different translations of one non-unique segment (due to context), the alternative translations are lost, since only one version makes it from a TMX into OmegaT|
This is my favorite method to translate SDLXLIFF files at the moment, because it is less time-consuming in terms of file preparation and the most reliable compared to other methods.
Conversion with Rainbow
|Segmentation of files with Studio is not required||Major disadvantage: Translated files often do not open in Studio|
|Rainbow produces a bilingual XLIFF file that can be translated with other CAT tools||Does not support 100% matches in files|
|Resulting XLIFF files are pre-segmented, which might be more convenient than OmegaT’s segmentation on-the-fly||Creates intermediate format, which often results in conversion problems and additional work|
Conversion into TTX with SDLXLIFF to Legacy Converter
|In theory, segmentation of files with Studio is not required (but it is recommended)||File preparation is time-consuming|
|Supports 100% matches in files (right now this filter is irreplaceable, when it comes to editing SDLXLIFF files translated by someone else)||Creates intermediate format, which often results in conversion problems and additional work|
|Resulting TTX files are pre-segmented, which might be more convenient than OmegaT’s segmentation on-the-fly||Often causes problems with tags, especially when tags were intentionally deleted in 100% matches|
|Segmentation of files with Studio is not required||Major disadvantage: Sequential tag numbering makes the filter very impractical, because each translated segment with tags is essentially unique and difficult to reuse both in the same project and future work|
|Okapi XLIFF filter supports 100% matches in files||Major disadvantage: Translated files often do not open in Studio, with the “object reference” error|
|Enables processing SDLXLIFF files directly, without conversion into an intermediate format and accompanying problems|
Why is the Okapi filter most promising?
Since segmentation is not required, there is no preparation for translation involved. You simply put the SDLXLIFF files that you received into the source subfolder of OmegaT project as they are.
Full support of 100% matches makes it possible to process files pre-populated with translations easily, whereas with other methods, it is either impossible or very challenging. Unlike the Okapi filter, the native filter also destroys the original 100% match statuses in the SDLXLIFF, as a result of copying the source text into target, which is sometimes inconvenient for clients who will work on these files in Studio after your delivery.
Yves Savourel, the mind behind Okapi and the Okapi filters plugin for OmegaT in particular, was kind enough to add the XLIFF filter to the mix of filters in the plugin last spring. Now, all of us translating SDLXLIFF files are looking forward to further improvements of the filter. Yves is aware of the disadvantages and will see what he can do, when he has time.
If you have questions about this post, feel free to ask in the comments below or by contacting me through LinkedIn.