Translation import from Word loses formatting

I have exported from Storyline 360, client has translated to their language.

I imported the translated document. The fonts, sizes etc are all fine, but any custom line/paragraph spacing has changed to a single line space on zero paragraph space.

The Word document is fine. Both columns are correct, but the story file is wrong after import.

I've seen various notes about the translation process going back years and it seems that most of the issues have been fixed, but not this one.

Super inconvenient as every block of text has to be edited in Storyline by hand and I have many modules coming back to me in 13 languages.

I am working with the latest updates.

29 Replies
Charles Radanovich

I received a reply on a different thread.

This is from Alyssa Gomez

Hi Charles,

It sounds like your custom paragraph spacing settings were lost after you imported the translated Word document, is that correct?

Our team is investigating this problem, and I'll certainly add your experience to our report. 

I apologize for all the extra work this has added to your plate! At this point, I haven't found any workarounds for this bug. If we do discover something, I'll be sure to let you know.

I have this thread tagged to be updated as soon as we get any new information. 

Charles Radanovich

My reply to Alyssa:

Hi Alyssa, yes the paragraph and line spacing both are trashed.

There are threads about Word import for translations going back many years. Can you tell me if a fix is in the pipeline for this?

My client's corporate parent company specifically purchased this software to move from PowerPoint to e-learning and they are global, so this is a big issue.

I would need to input text at a 1 (default) line space to avoid this, but that is just not feasible for the kind of content they develop.

It seems to me that if the Word doc preserves the font/size and spacing, Storyline should do the same. It does keep the font/size formats, just not the spacing!

Alyssa Gomez

Hi there Charles, 

I know how important this bug fix is for you, and I'll certainly share your experience with my team. At this point, I don't have an ETA on a fix, but as soon as I know more, I'll come back around to share an update with you.

I'm curious, have you tried exporting to XLIFF instead of Word? Considering you're managing so many languages, this could be a time-saving option for you. You also shouldn't have the same paragraph setting issues with XLIFF as you have with Word. 

Charles Radanovich

Thanks... it's unfortunate. I am surprised this never came up before.

It's too late for this project. I just have to plow through to get things right. I expected to adjust layouts, but not to this extent.

Disappointingly, the trainer who sold the software to the client never told them about XLIFF or that it was better than exporting to Word.

The files have been distributed globally, but I REALLY hope this is fixed soon. They have more projects coming and ALL need to be translated.

Charles Radanovich

Checking in to see if there's been any progress addressing this issue. I have been working on this project daily for over a month and it has not gotten easier! The loss of line/space formatting on import is still a major problem for me, along with other problems having more to do with clients not using the translation document correctly or changing all the styling. I am now up to 17 languages with more to come. Luckily I've gotten to know which screens are my big problems and can anticipate more of what to expect.

This client has ongoing work with a project like this twice a year. Any possibility of the line/paragraph spacing bug being worked out by my next new seasonal project? It starts in November.

Charles Radanovich

This is really very disappointing. I can't believe the software doesn't maintain line & paragraph spacing. It's bad enough to have to tweak foreign languages for other considerations, but having to edit every single text string after import is just a big fail as far as I'm concerned.

It's like a daily occurrence, finding things that are bad in Storyline. My new favorite is having right to left text scramble word order when text strings contain English as well as other language.

The amount of handwork that goes into fixing the imported text is truly astounding.

Katie Riggio

Hi there, Charles. Thanks for continuing to share your honest feedback, and I'm also really sorry for the laborious task this issue has given you and your team.

I know how frustrating this can be–as the goal is to produce high-quality work–both visually and contextually–so really appreciate you working through the spacing and right to left text issues with us here and in your case with one of our Support rockstars, Vevette. 

While I don't have any news to share at this time, please know that we truly value the insight you provided. Our team is small with a very short ladder for things to run up, so we can make a product you love. You're certainly in the right place for updates and we'll let you know as much as we can, as soon as we can!

Charles Radanovich

Thanks for you replay Katie, I do like the product, but it is frustrating that so much handwork is required to make the story files look good in other languages. My client purchased Articulate (and so I had to as well) particularly for the ease of translation and this is the first time they're using it on a large project. They are unhappy that it takes so long to fix the translations. They believed that importing translations from Word would require a pass-through to look for any really obvious problems but this certainly has not been the case. This is a semi-annual project and the next one starts in early November, so I hope these various problems are fixed by then.

If you want to see the right/left problem, take a look at my crazy PowerPoint that shows the Arabic/English word scramble problem. I submitted it a little while ago as Articulate Case # 01466878

I hope I don't sound too angry, I don't mean to, but this had made my work much more difficult.

Katie Riggio

No sweat there, Charles–I can definitely hear where you're coming from. We never want our customers to feel apprehensive about using our software, and are working really hard to ensure a seamless experience for all–including our customers' clients.

I saw you mention Export for Word was already used on the current project, but I wanted to revisit Alyssa's mention of the Export to XLIFF option for subsequent projects while our team delves deeper on both issues. Thanks again for continuing to work with us, both by adding your voice to ELH and by staying in touch with our Support Team.

Charles Radanovich

I did try exporting to XLIFF but what I got looked crazy when I opened it in Notepad.

Don't you need special software to open and auto-convert to a language?

The regions who are translating are not professional translators, they are the regional education managers and would never have professional translation software. They are doing it by hand, which leads to other problems, but I won't go there!

Leslie McKerchie

You're right Charles, you would need software.

We recently launched this feature for Rise also and I know my colleague Kelly mentioned this:

*XLIFF files are a translation industry standard, so if you’re working with professional translators, then you shouldn’t have any issues. But what if the translations are being done by a fellow coworker or friend? No problem! If you do a quick Google search, you’ll find a ton of free tools that allow you to easily edit XLIFF files.

Charles Radanovich

Can someone update me on progress being made on the issue of line/paragraph spacing being lost when importing translation into Storyline 360 project? I've been asking over the past 3 months.

Also any progress regarding the right/left language issues I've noted?

Both of these bugs make work so much more difficult than it is supposed to be. I have more work of this nature starting up and I need to know if these issues have been addressed.


Crystal Horn

Hi Charles.  Thanks for continuing to check in. While I don't have any new insight to add at this time, we'll be sure to post here as soon as we do.  I know that doesn't help your situation, and I'm sorry. Given how Storyline and Word communicate, this issue has been a tough one for us to address.  Since the line spacing issue is critical for you, the best way forward presently is to use the XLIFF format and an XLIFF translating tool as noted above.

The word order issue for Arabic texts is still being investigated.  We had some inconsistent results with other texts, so our team is trying to determine the root cause for words to sometimes appear out of order when imported back into Storyline.  We'll update you on this issue as well when we have new information!

Charles Radanovich

Thanks Crystal. As I said before, the XLIFF tool really is not an option as the clients are far-flung globally and won't attempt to use anything except Word. Frankly even Word seems to be a challenge for them. Plus, based on my testing of XLIFF with Arabic, it behaves the same way as Word for scrambling word order, so I don't expect it to be any better for line/paragraph spacing.

What is strange with the Word import problem is that Storyline exports to Word maintaining the spacing. It's only an issue when importing back into Storyline.

Is there anyone on your team who can give me a rough timeline for this fix so I can at least know what's coming? This is very significant for me.

Also, is there a place where I can access the feature requests and bug reports that I've made in the past? I don't see it anywhere.


Leslie McKerchie

Hey Charles,

I see that you worked with Vevette on our support team on this issue as well and she filed a bug report detailing the behavior to share with our team.

I wanted to share some information on how we define bugs and how we tackle them when they occur and also how we manage these feature requests when received. That said, I do not have a timeline to provide on the issue filed.

A public-facing listing or index of issues and requests has been an idea that we've tossed around, but not something we have at this time. We try to keep in touch with the users directly affected when we have updates to share as well as posting in any relevant forum conversations.

Charles Radanovich

Thanks, but that reply is unsatisfactory. I get that reply often on various issues but I’d consider that a non-answer.

This problem isn’t what I’d call a bug. It’s really a fundamental shortcoming of the translation import function of the software.

Someone should at least tell me if this is being worked on.

Sent from my iPhone

Ashley Terwilliger

Hi Charles, 

We don't share ETAs about features or fixes, so I apologize if the response felt redundant and repetitive, but as I'm sure you can imagine we're asked that question a fair bit. 

I reached out to a few team members and confirmed this isn't on our list for inclusion in the near future. It is considered a change in how our current Storyline and Word translation feature works, and would be a rewrite of the existing setup. So as you said, less a bug and more a change in functionality. 

If you have any other questions, let me know. Happy to share whatever I can. 

Charles Radanovich

Wow, this news is really disappointing and really makes no sense to me.

You know the export to Word function maintains spacing, right? It's the import that loses it. I don't see how this is not a priority. This loss of formatting must affect all your users.

My client has a tendency to overload their screens with text and complex graphics, so this really is a problem. They are aware of it and moving forward, they're trying to break their content into smaller pieces.

Thanks, and please excuse me if I sound frustrated.