Can a docx ever be an xlf?
October 8, 2012 12:17 PM   Subscribe

Hey translators, can I convert a docx to an xlf?

This one client demands that we send them bilingual XLFs so they can extract TMs (we can send them TMX files but for some reason they just don't want them) and I'm having a hell of a time trying to figure out how to convert these "unclean" docx files. I've seen that it's possible in Rainbow, but Rainbow is so complicated and buggy that I cannot for the life of me figure out how this would be done -- I open it and it showers me with error messages. I see that this can be fixed by clicking on something called "launcher" but I see that exactly nowhere. I'm sorry if I sound crazy computer illiterate, but I'm rather new to this! I offer eternal gratefulness to anyone who can offer advice and free booze/food to anyone in my geographic location.
posted by Mooseli to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
MemoQ could do this I think, but it's been a while since I used it so I can't be certain
posted by tsh at 12:55 PM on October 8, 2012

Thanks tsh but one of my translators uses memoQ and could only manage a memoQ XLIFF which has some crazy extension like mqxlf or something. I don't think this will help my Trados-bound clients :(

Let's march on ATA and demand inter-operability! OWATA! (Or something)
posted by Mooseli at 1:10 PM on October 8, 2012

Having gone through the harrowing experience of trying to find a CAT tool that generates really standards-compliant .XLIFF files, I totally feel your pain.

So yeah, ideally you should be able to use Rainbow or something to convert the .DOCX to .XLIFF, translate it using OmegaT, Virtaal or something, and send the files back. But I just had a look at Rainbow and it does look daunting.

Here's an alternative solution, if you don't mind paying a small monthly fee: you could sign up for a freelancer XTM Cloud account and use it for all projects from this particular client. It's an online, browser-based CAT tool (you upload your files to their server rather than installing any software on your machine), but it works reasonably well once you get your head around that. The reason why I'm suggesting it is because it allows you to export your files as plain, bilingual XLIFF at any time (once you've uploaded your files and created the project, go to the "My inbox" window, click the downwards-pointing arrow and select "Prepare bilingual XLFF file and download it").

Obviously, if you have already done the translation in Trados, you may have to export it to TMX, import that into XTM and apply the TM to the file you need translated, but hopefully that shouldn't take too long.

There's even a free trial that might be enough to take care of this particular project if it's small enough. Normally I'm not a huge fan of online tools, but in this case it seems like XTM might be a way around the .XLIFF issue.
posted by doctorpiorno at 1:23 PM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

Thank you so so much, Doctor Piorno!! The only issue is that the file is ALREADY a translated unclean docx file; do you think XTM Cloud will accept it and be able to export it? I already use MemSource Cloud and they really don't seem to like bilingual files very much unless I've made them using their service.

I'll go ahead and give it a try -- maybe I can jerry-rig some sort of alignment.
posted by Mooseli at 1:40 PM on October 8, 2012

I'm not sure XTM Cloud handles unclean files. Most likely, you will have to feed it the source document, import the TM you created when translating the file using Trados or any other CAT tool —you can definitely import .TMX translation memories into XTM— and then use that TM to retranslate the file. There may be some segmentation differences, so you will probably have to copy and paste a few bits manually, but it should be faster than doing an alignment.
posted by doctorpiorno at 1:49 PM on October 8, 2012

If it doesn't accept the bilingual file, can take a TM created using the current bilingual file and retranslate the original source file in XTM Cloud with that TM, then export the result as XLIFF.

Or, on preview, what doctorpiorno said.
posted by drlith at 1:51 PM on October 8, 2012

You can't see it now but I'm unleashing untold volumes of puppy upon both of you translation doctors. That's a brilliant solution. If either of you will be at ATA or else anywhere near Brooklyn I'd love to buy you a drink.
posted by Mooseli at 1:55 PM on October 8, 2012

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