What are the file formats used in translation?

What are the file formats used in translation?

This month's post is inspired by some questions I'm often asked by clients:
What are the file formats used in translation?
Can you translate my documents in my file format?
What are the file formats you can work on?

I’ve been translating for fifteen years and file format is a recurring theme with my clients.

Translation buyers work with many different file formats, whether they need to prepare documents, websites, user manuals, software, mobile apps or marketing materials. Just to name a few of them.

They want to know in particular if they’ll have to go through extensive editing of the file layout after receiving the translated file.

The good news for you is that many technical translators can work with (almost) any type of file.

In fact, when translating, they often use Computer-Assisted Translation (CAT) tools that support many different file formats.

For example, I usually work with SDL Trados Studio. It supports over 70 different file types, including some Adobe file formats such as PDFs, generally quite difficult to handle in translation.

Therefore, you won’t have to spend extra time or money hiring another professional for reformatting the translated text—or for doing this work by yourself.

You can continue focusing on your work. Your translator will send you a professionally translated and designed document ready for use, in its original format.

So, let’s see some file formats used in translation.


Whether you need to translate a contract, a PowerPoint presentation or your new user manual, you’ll receive a final document in the same format as the one you sent for translation.

Here are the most common file formats for documents:

  • Microsoft Office (Word: .doc, .dot, .rtf, .docx, .dotx, .docm, .dotm; Excel: .xls, .xlt, .xlsm, .xlsx, .xltm; PowerPoint: .pot, .pps, .ppt, .potm, .potx, .pptm, .pptx)
  • OpenOffice.org (.odp, .ods, .odt, .sxw, .sxc, .sxi)
  • Google Docs
  • XML Localization Interchange File Format (.xliff)
  • Comma-Separated Values (.csv)
  • Generic text (.txt)
  • Adobe FrameMaker (.fm, .mif)
  • Adobe InDesign (.inx, .idml, .icml)
  • Portable Document Format (.pdf)


Mobile apps are mostly available in English, but only 24% of users are native English speakers.

This is why a translated version of your mobile apps can surely add value to how you offer your products and expand your customer reach.

The file types most often requested for mobile apps are:

  • Extensible Markup Language (.xml)
  • Apple iOS, MacOS, TvOS, and WatchOS (.string)
  • Java (.properties)


From computer programs, on-screen messages to technical manuals and online help documentation, you need to translate your products in their language if you want to bring your software to users all over the world. Below there are the most common file formats for software:
  • Java (.properties, .json)
  • Comma-Separated Values (.csv)
  • Gettext (.po)
  • Generic INI (.ini)
  • Microsoft .NET (.resx)
  • Other software file formats (.dll, .exe, .rc)


If you’re ready to enter a new market your website must speak the language of your visitors. And here I explain to you why.

But you can be assured that the source code will remain unaltered if you send your translator standard web formats such as .xml, .htm or .html.


In conclusion, you now have a clear idea of the various file formats widely used in translation.

Knowing them is important for you to be ready for your next translation project.

Did you find my post helpful for translation buyers? Feel free to share on social media by using the share buttons below.

Why translate your website into Italian?
3 reasons to consider

Why translate your website into italian? 3 reasons to consider

Whether you run an online business or one with a physical location, your website is important to your growth and success.
In this post, I share with you three reasons why you should consider investing in translation to grow your business in Italy.

If your website is in English, and one of your target markets is Italy, Italians might find it difficult to understand your content. Actually, the majority of them do not speak English at a professional level—or they do not speak it at all.

Consequently, not translating your content into Italian you are missing out on many business opportunities in Italy.

But what if your website had an Italian translation?

Your Italian visitors would certainly feel welcome. And this could mean better sales and business possibilities for you.

Here are three reasons why.


A website is the most effective tool you have for being found in online searches.

Your potential Italian customers look for information about products or services using search engines like Google. They type words in Italian and expect to find recommendations in their language.

From its part, Google “tries to find pages that match the language of the searcher” by analysing the content of every page of websites.

If you do not translate your website into Italian, Google will recommend other sites with content in Italian over yours.

On the other hand, when you translate your website into Italian, you create more opportunities for Italian visitors to interact with your content.

So, you can enjoy more traffic to your website.


Your website is the place where you give information about you, your business, your values, and your products or services. For instance, your customers go there when they want to learn more about you or a particular product or service you offer.

In their report, “Can’t Read, Won’t Buy”, the Common Sense Advisory (CSA Research) reported that 75% of internet users prefer to buy from websites written in their native language. Moreover, 60% rarely or never buy from English-only websites.

With an Italian translation of your website, you open up a dialogue between your business and your Italian visitors in a language they can clearly understand.

Therefore, you can build and maintain great business relationships with them one text at a time.

Communication matters.

So don’t just speak to your customer, talk to them.


It is very easy to derail business relationships through what you say and how you say it.

Spelling or grammar errors, terminology mistakes, incorrect technical concepts—even something apparently as small as punctuation—can unintentionally send the wrong message.

After all, your readers cannot see your good intention on the page of your website.

Professional translators can be of help. In fact, they know how to choose the perfect words, terminology, style, and tone to communicate your message in effective, natural ways.

As a result, your business will appear more real, professional and trustworthy and you will earn your customers’ loyalty.


Whatever the services you offer or the products you sell, having an online presence in Italian is important to:

  • gain more visibility in the Italian market
  • communicate better with your Italian customers
  • earn trust from your customers in Italy

Therefore, consider translating your website into Italian to connect with new customers in Italy, expand your brand awareness, increase trust and conversions, achieve your goals, and maximize your ROI.

Have you ever thought of translating your website professionally? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Want to achieve your goals with translation?
Begin with the end in mind

Want to achieve your goals with translation? Begin with the end in mind

Setting goals is an important step in growing your business.
Achieving them can be a challenge at times, especially when there is a language barrier.
But there is a habit you can start adopting today to achieve your business goals with translation.

Out there, you have Italian speaking clients looking for you, your products or your services. The problem is that they don’t know it, because they can’t understand what you are offering.

How can you help them find you?

And how can you help them understand you?

Translate your documents into the language of your customers.

It is as simple as that.


In the famous book written by Stephen Covey, one of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is “Begin with the end in mind“.

The beginning of a circle is also its end.


This habit suggests that you should always start everything you do with a clear idea of the destination you want to reach.

You can do this by practicing the following steps:

  • start visualising your goal
  • move your ideas into the real world figuring out a plan
  • put your plan into action
  • achieve your goals

In other words, start with your destination in mind. You, and only you, have the map for getting to your business goals.

Let’s do a short experiment.


Suppose that you want to launch your products or services in Italy and grow your business in the Italian market.

Imagine how you feel when you achieve this goal.

It is very likely that you feel good, successful, and satisfied.

But how do you get there?

You know well that it makes a big difference for your customers if they can read in their language. Therefore, you hire a specialised, professional translator, who translates into Italian your website, manuals, catalogues, brochures or any other kind of content relevant to your marketing strategy.

Translating your texts into Italian, you communicate the benefits of your products and services in your customers’ language and you ensure that your customers understand clearly what your offer. In this way, you show that you value them.

You have the opportunity to attract new customers and to keep the existing ones, and you are doing it.

In fact, your Italian customers trust you more and become more loyal. They start buying your products or services and recommending them to other Italian-speaking people.

As a result, you increase your sales and profits and your business grow day by day.

You can go to sleep happy—and wake up happier—knowing that you achieved your business goals and realised your vision.


Of course, things will not happen just by imagining them. That is daydreaming.

Things happen if you support your vision with a plan and if you act to address it effectively in the real world.

So, if you want to enter the Italian market, I recommend that you find a professional and specialised translator to help you translate your documents into Italian.

Click here to read a blog post about 5 factors to consider to find your perfect match in a translator. It’s the perfect “next step” after reading this post.

How to hire a translator:
5 factors to consider to find your perfect match in a translator

How to hire a translator: 5 factors to consider to find your perfect match in a translator

Missing pieces do more than complete the puzzle, they fill in an empty space.

Luanne Rice

When it comes to deciding whether or not to hire a translator, people often wonder:

  • How do I find a translator for my translation project?
  • What can a translator do for me?
  • Do I need to hire a translator?
  • How much are translators’ fees?

So, take some time to consider the following points when you are looking for a translator who will be the perfect match for you and your project.


Before you even start searching for a translator, you must define the goals for your translation project. Once you identify your goals, it will be easier for you to find a translator.

Some typical goals may include:

  • Growing your revenue
  • Increasing sales to existing clients
  • Meeting customers’ expectations
  • Complying with laws
  • Protecting your brand reputation
  • Ensuring the security of products and users
  • Supporting and communicating efficiently with your clients
  • Growing profitability and visibility
  • Increasing customer service
  • Introducing new products and services
  • Growing your clients’ base
  • Having satisfied end-users


A translator is a highly-specialised professional trained in the art and science of ensuring communication between speakers of different languages by rendering one language into another in a written format.

Where can you find them?

Web searches and word of mouth are a common way to look for translators.

Professional associations are great sources to find professional and specialised translators. They verify the relevant qualifications and professional experience of its members, promote the continuing professional development of translators and have set down codes of professional ethics and conduct for their members to follow.

In any case, it is always better to research your potential translator thoroughly and make sure that he/she is the best fit for you and your project.

Most importantly, search for a translator with experience in your industry sector.

Having completed prior work in your sector ensures that the translator understands specialised terminology, regulations, requirements, and nuisances of the texts but also all the steps involved in your project. This experience will ultimately help streamline the work, resulting in better communication and lower costs.


Once you have found a few candidates you can contact them.

Firstly, organise your thoughts and key information about your project.

Here is a list of some things you should prepare and know before contacting a translator:

  • The text(s) to be translated, or at least a sample of them
  • Format of the document(s)
  • Estimated starting and delivery dates
  • End-use of the translation
  • Target audience of the translation
  • Requirements for the style and/or terminology of the translation
  • Requirements for the layout of the translation
  • Budget


Each project is unique and the specifications differ based on many factors. But the cost is, and will always be, an important factor for both parties.

My advice here is to understand the tasks involved in the process of translation. This can give you an idea of the time needed and can help you estimate the cost.

Then be upfront with the professional with your budget and your expectations, and expect the same from the translator. This opens communication and allows both parties to find a win-win solution.


Communication is the key to complete a project well and being able to communicate freely and openly is vital to the success of your project. You should share a clear understanding of your goals and project with your translator and feel completely comfortable.

Make sure you choose a translator who treats you as a priority and is truly invested in your project, whether big or small. If you find someone who creates clear lines of communication and wants the best for you and your project, there is no reason not to expect great results.

Once you have taken the time to consider all the factors, hiring a translator should be a smooth process.

Have you recently hired a translator? If so, what was your experience like?