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Re: [dejavu-l] Another warning to those translating sdlxliff files

Dear colleagues,

As a translator/localizer with a special interest in XML, I am dismayed to learn that yet again an official standard (XLIFF) has been "highjacked" by a company which has turned it into a proprietary format. In 2003 (LRC conference, Limerick) I gave a presentation about the then emerging standard of XLIFF, and warned my then audience about certain pitfalls, one of them being that such a standard could be "corrupted" or used for the wrong purposes. During this presentation, I drew paralelles with RTF and the Microsoft-specific version of XSL (in answer to the open standard of XSLT).

In this particular case, it is sad that Atril/DVX and the users of this program (DVX2) have to suffer because a particular company (in this case, SDL) has decided to tweak not one, but two open standards (XML in general, and XLIFF in particular) to such an extent that the open character of the standard is no longer there. I also wonder if such a company has the right to do that. Perhaps the more legal-minded readers among you can dive into the various GNU licences governig the use of both XML and XLIFF.

But the fact remains that twisting an open standard into something that is not open any more and prevents us from doing our job is a practice which should be banned and punished. To draw more attention to this problem, I have CC-ed the XML developers list on this message. Perhaps we can get some answers there. Also, I know that Mr Paul Filkin of SDL is a regular reader of this list, and I am asking him to not only respond to this particular problem in question, but to also bring this to the attention of both the SDL Trados Studio developers and the SDL management team in order to have this practice ended.

The more I read about problems with sdlxliff, the less inclined I will be to ever use SDL Trados Studio. Which is why I still have not installed the Studio 2009 version...

With best regards,
(Also, a former employee of SDL)

Op 2012-11-29 11:00, dprombaum schreef:

Yesterday I received a Studio package containing 13 files. DVX2 was unable to import 2 of them. I sent the files to Atril support and Lorenzo responded as follows:

"This is a common problem with XML files produced by applications that do not support XML correctly. We have an article about this here: Illegal XML character"

The suggested fix is to remove the character. The problem is that these illegal characters are used in Studio FOR A PURPOSE, in this case, to hide text that is not to be translated. If I remove the characters,the files will no longer behave as intended in Studio. Clearly, if you value your relationship with the customer, you cannot do this.

I think it is naive to categorize sdlxliff files as simply "XML files produced by applications that do not support XML correctly". The only people who are being penalized by this attitude are DVX2 users, since Studio users do not have any problem with it. The long-term effect of this attitude will be to cause DVX2 users to lose clients and large clients to use Studio instead of DVX2. I cannot believe that this is what Atril really wants.

My solution in this case was to ask the client to give me sdlxliff.ttx files instead. The client did this based on our long relationship. I think new clients will probably refuse to do so.

At the very least, Atril should formally state that it only supports sdlxliff files to the extent that they comply with the XML standard. Then, if you choose to go ahead and accept that kind of work, you are at least aware that you are playing a form of "Russian roulette".


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