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Customizing and Getting the Most Out of XTRF

XTRF translation management systemThis post provides some workarounds and tips that we found useful after implementing the XTRF translation management system.


The system does not support uploading files in folders.

This makes it difficult to manage work files that come in several folders. Whereas folder structure is unimportant with files such as reference materials, it is quite critical with work files. To keep folder structure, you may:

  • Upload files in folders as a ZIP archive. Do not check Unzip, however, since this crashes the system currently.
  • Create folder structure manually first in the Workflow Directories and only then upload files to folders that you have created.
  • Copy files into folders on the server by accessing that folder via the file system instead of the XTRF web-interface. XTRF will not know this folder exists and will not show it when accessed via FTP, though.

The system does not let me close a project without a receivable.

A receivable is required in each project, which is inconvenient if you complete a task free of charge. The workaround is as follows:

  • In a receivable, set the rate to 0 and the number of units to any number.
  • On the Finance tab of a task, uncheck the Invoiceable checkbox.

A task fails to show up in a downloadable PDF invoice, while I do see it in on the invoice in XTRF.

This can result from setting the number of units in a receivable to 0, leading to a minimum fee being applied. This minimum fee task displays in XTRF, but does not make it into the downloadable PDF invoice due to the default template issue. To avoid this, set the number of units to anything other than 0 or, better yet, enter the information, such as word count, properly in the receivable.

Project emails display project names instead of task names, making it difficult to distinguish between tasks.

For example, the first task may be translation + editing, while the second task is post-DTP review. To fix this, do the following:

  • Make sure to adjust task names properly, for example include “Post-DTP review” in the second task name.
  • In the email templates, replace the default “project” variables with “task” variables; for example, replace ${} with ${}.

I need to add a client’s PO number to a project. Where can I do so in XTRF?

XTRF could have customizable fields for this, but it currently does not. Our current workaround is to use the Customer Project Number field for that purpose. Simply write “PO #: 12345” after the project number.


  1. Since you save modifications made to projects and other information often, press Ctrl+S instead of the Save button to save time.
  2. Use shortcuts to access various parts of the system (System > Preferences > Keyboard Shortcuts), especially Ctrl+Alt+D to access the dashboard.
  3. The dashboard is the best way to access various components of a project conveniently without navigating to them through the project itself. For example, you can quickly select a provider, set a deadline, and enter a payable for a project without leaving the dashboard.

For more information about why we moved to XTRF from our previous project management system, read the article about the ]project-open[ translation management system.

We are only starting to use the system, so not all these suggestions may be optimal. Feel free to contest anything or add your best practices in the comments.


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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.