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What is XLIFF?

XLIFF is an XML-based format used to standardize the passing of data to and from tools during each step of the localization process. It is supported by a vast number of localization services and tool providers as well as one of the most common formats used for files in CAT Tools.

The format specifies the elements and attributes used to store content that has been extracted from the original file formats and target translations. This formatting standard makes it easier to exchange localization data between each participant in the process. It standardizes the following:

  • Localized Content Processing

  • Translation Memory and Glossary Leveraging

  • CAT Tool, TMS, and MT Interaction

  • Localization Workflow Management

During the translation process, XLIFF is used as an intermediary format for completing the following steps:

  1. The document text is extracted from the layout information to an XLIFF file.

  2. The extracted text is pre-translated using existing resources (TM's and glossaries).

  3. A professional translator finishes the translation using a CAT Tool or other means. 

  4. The translated XLIFF file is used to create the translated document. 

  5. New translations are stored in the TM for re-use after document generation.

What are the benefits of using XLIFF?

XLIFF files are bilingual documents. They hold the content to be localized, all corresponding translations, and any additional data to improve localization efficiency. With XLIFF files, both source and target language data remain in sync as the localization process takes place. It is an open standard designed to remove the hassles of proprietary formats. XLIFF provides the following benefits: 

  • Single document for multiple document types.

  • One format for the entire localization process.

  • Allows translators to concentrate on the text and not the layout.

  • Improved Interoperability

  • Workflow Automation

  • Rule Embedment at the Source

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