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Open Standards Can Improve Your Translations

January 4th, 2013 | by LTD

Session LT-12 at ATA 2012
Presenter: Asa Ahlgren
Reviewed by: Rubén de la Fuente

 
Open standards are great. They allow to pick the best translator for a job based only on linguistic and subject matter expertise, and not on what particular CAT tool they use. In other words, they provide means to exchange files from one proprietary format to another. Some of the L10N open standards are:

TMX: the exchange format for translation memories, probably the oldest and most supported one.

TBX: the exchange format for term bases.

SRX: the exchange format for segmentation rules. Segmentation rules provide the guidelines for your CAT tool on how to break a text in translation units and might be slightly different from one tool to another. SRX allows to use rules from one tool in another one.

XLIFF: the exchange format for localizeable files. A few years ago, the process of extracting translatable text and protecting code and format information from one file was tool dependent, e.g. You could use Trados to prepare a file for translation, but then you would have to use Trados to translate it.

Unfortunately, commercial tools do not support open standards as much as they should, and you need to look for work-arounds. Okapi Framework, an open-source project initiated by ENLASO, provides a set of localization engineering tools that allow to convert from and to open standards, so that you have an alternative not to turn down a job because you don’t have a particular tool. Double check with your client first, though: not all companies are embracing open standards as much as they should.

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