XLIFF Translation Suggestions

Nov 22, 2022


I have been tasked with converting some of our courses from English to Spanish. Unfortunately, we do not have a team that I can work with for making these translations. I also have no idea how to know if a free XLIFF file translation has an accurate translation. 

What are people using for their XLIFF document translations and how good/bad has your experience been with accuracy on translations?

Thank you for any and all help!

4 Replies
Rebecca Metcalf

Hi Tyler, How best to translate your content will depend on your target audience (for example internal employees or external customers), how important it is that the content is correct (for example is there a risk to life or potential legal ramifications, or will an incorrect translation damage your brand), your budget, and other factors. You could use free online Machine Translation (although this carries many risks), or you could work with an individual freelance translator (if you are only translating into Spanish and you can handle all of the localization engineering yourself this could work, try proz.com), or you could outsource the localization to a translation company.

Using automated translations rather than a human translator will give different results for different subject matters, writing styles and languages so whether it worked well or not for other people the result might not be the same for your courses.

I work in localization so if you would like to discuss your need further just let me know.

Miranda Miller

We are currently evaluating SmartCat (machine generated) to translate XLIFF files per the recommendation from another user in this community.  Our initial review is that you lose formatting which requires more time/effort from the instructional designer. Quality was "okay" per an internal reviewer. When we have the budget we outsource XLIFF files to Lionbridge and CommLab (human translator), quality is similar for both but Lionbridge has been more cost effective. CommLab will send a completed course back if you send them a copy of the course which has been a nice feature. We use Microsoft Office auto-translate feature for documents and have an internal reviewer validate/update. It has been just "okay" quality but to be expected with machine generated translations. 

Tyler Collier

I work in education with our target audience being teachers and potentially parents, so I am hesitant on what results could be with inaccurate translation. There is also the question of how some of the education terminology and language would be translated into another language. Sometimes the context sets up some of those terms and I'm nervous about those translations, and we don't want to put out anything that could raise questions or come out as a "bad product" in general. 


This was exactly the kind of information I was looking for. I was looking into SmartCat as I had seen it in other posts as well. Thank you for taking the time to respond and provide me with your experiences!