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The following file extensions are supported when setting up file format configurations for XLIFF: .xlf, .sdlxliff, .xliff, .xlif.

XLIFF versions

We support both XLIFF version 1 and XLIFF version 2.

For XLIFF version 2 specifics please go here.

Default XLIFF Configuration

Every file format has a default configuration to ensure that a file can be translated; however, it does not handle every complex property that could be thrown your way when translating a source file. The default configuration for XLIFF files does the following: 

  • Extracts existing translations.
  • Does not show leading and trailing whitespaces.
  • Does not show preceeding and trailing markup.
  • Splits segments at XLIFF segmentation boundaries.
  • Enables SRX rules for text segmentation.

Custom XLIFF Configurations

If you use XLIFF files for translations, a custom file format configuration might be necessary to achieve the right results in your target file. Outside of the default configuration selections, Wordbee Translator offers many additional choices for configuring:

  • HTML content options.
  • Extraction of XLIFF notes.
  • Setting the segment status to "Translated" in the target file.
  • Whitespace preservation and omitting texts with no letters or digits.
  • Exclusion of specific content from translation.
  • Text segmentation options such as splitting text at line breaks.
  • Ability to load advanced properties not included in XLIFF standard files.


When translating XLIFF files, certain rules must be followed to ensure that the translation will be successful. The following two categories of rules apply for translating any XLIFF file with the default or a custom configuration. 

File Content Rules

An XLIFF file may contain content to translate from more than one document. Those documents are separated within the XLIFF file by XML nodes inside the file (one node per document). As an XLIFF file may contain more than one of those nodes, at least one node must contain content to translate to prevent an error in Wordbee Translator.

Context-Linked Rules

In the system, an XLIFF file is always sent inside a particular context (a project, the new order form, etc.). and certain locales are defined within this context. The sent XLIFF file has to respect specific rules related to those locales. The following rules must be upheld in order for the translation to be successful:

  1. The source locale of the XLIFF file must match with the one of the context. For example, if the source language is set to German, then it cannot be marked for online translation in projects where the source lanaguage is English.

  2. The target locale of the XLIFF file must match with one of the ones from the context. For example, let' say a project has a source that is German with English and French as the target languages. You want to mark an XLIFF file for online translation that has German as the source language and Italian as the target language, the system will not accept this file as the target language does not match the context of the project, order form, etc.

  3. The source and target language of the XLIFF file must be different. If they are the same, then the XLIFF file translation will fail. 

If you are attempting to translate an XLIFF file and receive an error message, please see the XLIFF Error Messages section to learn more about the error and how to resolve it within Wordbee Translator.


The following are just a few examples of what you can do with a custom XLIFF configuration in Wordbee Translator. For more advanced examples, please see our XLIFF Questions and Answers page.

HTML Content

While the default configuration is thorough enough to tackle most translation needs, it is not configured to handle HTML content. This is one of the biggest reasons to create a custom file format configuration for your XLIFF files.

For HTML to work, make sure that content is:

  • Enclosed with a CDATA instructions, or

    <tuv><![CDATA[<p>hello <br />world</p>]]></tuv>
  • HTML is encoded

    <tuv>&lt;p&gt;hello &lt;br /&gt;world&lt;/p&gt;</tuv>

With Wordbee Translator, you have the option to mark the content as HTML to ensure it is translated correctly. By ticking this option, Wordbee is informed that the content is HTML and you are able to create a custom HTML configuration or use the default to complete file translation.

Loading Advanced Properties

Some CAT tools include information that is beyond common XLIFF standards. Wordbee Translator offers an option for loading these more advanced properties, specifically the ability to extract the SDL 'origin' attribute that specifies the origin of the translation. 

Excluding Content

In some instances, you might need to exclude a specific phrase or text segment from the translation. This can be done by entering the phrase within the Exclude Content section of the configuration.

To learn more about common XLIFF configurations heard by our support team, please see the XLIFF Questions and Answers section.

For more information about available configuration options when working with XLIFF files, please see the XLIFF Configuration Options page.

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