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Will a TMS support the file formats I work with?
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Aleix Gwilliam
AuthorAleix Gwilliam
Reading time 4 minutes

Translation Management Systems (TMS) typically support a wide range of file formats commonly used in organizations for their content. However, file formats supported may vary depending on the TMS you choose. Some TMS solutions focus on particular types of content or customers, such as enterprises, developers, and proxy and JS-based localization websites, which may enhance or limit the formats supported. Additionally, some TMS platforms provide plugins or custom configurations to handle proprietary or specialized file formats.

To find out which file formats a TMS supports, you can check their online documentation. The release notes for their latest update will include a list of the file formats that it supports.

Here is a list of the most widely supported file formats in a TMS:

.adoc, .arb, .asa, .asc, .asciidoc, .ascx, .asp, .c, .catkeys, .cfg, .conf, .cpp, .cs, .csv, .dbk, .desktop, .dita, .ditamap, .doc, .docm, .docx, .dot, .dotm, .dotx, .epub, .fxg, .h, .htm, .html, .icml, .idml, .inc, .indb, .ini, .inx, .jar, .jfs, .js, .json, .lang, .markdown, .md, .mif, .mqxliff, .mxliff, .odp, .ods, .odt, .pdf, .php, .plist, .po, .pot, .potm, .potx, .ppt, .pptm, .pptx, .properties, .properties (Java), .psd, .rc, .resource, .resw, .resx, .rtf, .sbv, .sdlxliff, .shtm, .shtml, .srt, .strings, .sub, .svg, .sxw, .tag, .tmx, .ts, .ttx, .txlf, .txt, .vdx, .vsdx, .vtt, .wiki, .xht, .xhtm, .xhtml, .xlf, .xliff, .xls, .xlsm, .xlsx, .xlt, .xltm, .xltx, .XLZ, .xml, .xsl, .xslt, .xtg, .yaml, .zip

Do translation management systems have features to support file formats that don’t contain translatable text?

There are many other file formats that go beyond more traditional desktop-document file formats. Many are simply containers for component text and strings, e.g., .json, .csv, .xlsx, .xml, etc. These file formats can store any kind of information, so if you deploy them, it’s important to find out if the TMS has features that can support them. These files can include instructions or contextual descriptions for translators, string keys for UI string matching (.json, .yaml, .properties), or string plurals for Android (.xml) or iOS (.stringsdict, .plist).

Some TMS providers can have the ability to build custom file filters for proprietary file formats. They can set up custom rules or configurations that can handle specific proprietary file formats. These filters allow the TMS to parse and process the content within those proprietary file formats and enable text customization, especially content which can be customized in text (.txt) or MS Office formats (.docx, .xlsx, .pptx, etc.). For example, in a logging system, custom TXT formats with specific file filters can help organize and extract relevant information from log files. If you have a custom TXT format for application logs with structured entries, a custom file filter lets you extract logs based on specific criteria, such as date range, severity level, or specific error message, and use them for tasks like analyzing and troubleshooting issues in the application

Expert tip

John Weisgerber
John Weisgerber

While it’s highly probable that a TMS will “support” the file formats used in your organization, it is important to evaluate the TMS’s documentation or contact the provider to confirm that its file filters are flexible enough to support the specialized content in your particular files, such as translator instructions, context information, or string keys. While ensuring support for file formats may seem like something addressed in the deployment stage, imagine the shock a team would have if their principal file format was not well supported by the TMS. Establishing compatibility early is key.”

John Weisgerber

Xpert at XTM International

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