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memoQ's bilingual export formats and handling outside of memoQ
Posted by Péter Botta on 29 January 2015 09:16 AM

Title: memoQ's bilingual export formats

Description:  You can export one or more translation documents in a bilingual document. 

memoQ supports the following bilingual formats:

  • memoQ XLIFF
  • Trados-compatible bilingual DOC
  • Two-column RTF

XLIFF is a standardized format for localization, specifically designed for interoperability among translation tools. In memoQ, XLIFF is fully supported as a bilingual document format: memoQ users can work on XLIFF documents created in other tools, or export documents from memoQ into XLIFF format for processing in other tools that sufficiently support the XLIFF format.  In many cases, XLIFF enables memoQ users to take part in projects not prepared using memoQ, and allows users of other tools to work in projects that were prepared in memoQ. 

In addition to segments of source text and their translations, XLIFF files can contain additional information about the document and its segments. XLIFF files created in memoQ contain all the significant information like locked segments, comments, etc. XLIFF files created in other tools will typically hold similar pieces of information. However, not all of this information is always available after an XLIFF file has been transferred from memoQ to another tool or vice versa. On the one hand, this depends on the level of XLIFF support of the other tool. On the other hand, some of this information can be stored in so called extensions: XLIFF is an extensible format that can store proprietary information that is specific to one translation tool and is not automatically available to other tools.

Note: XLIFF files can also contain matches from a translation memory for the segments of the document(s) contained: these matches are currently ignored by memoQ.

Why exporting bilingual XLIFF files from memoQ?

In many cases, memoQ users need to cooperate with users of other translation software products. For example, you might want to have your translated document proofread by a non memoQ user. Or a project manager might need to work in a team where some of the translators cannot currently use memoQ. If those colleagues of yours use an XLIFF compatible translation tool, the translation documents can be exported into XLIFF format, and handed out to the non memoQ translator or proofreader. When the finished work is received, you can “merge” the translated or proofread segments back into the memoQ translation document by selecting it in the document list and choosing Export > Update from Bilingual on the Documents ribbon tab.

When exporting memoQ XLIFF files, you have several options:

 If you are exporting several files, you can export them into a single XLIFF file (MQXLZ) or several (MQXLIFF). 

  • You can choose to include the skeleton, in which case you will not need the original project or translation document at hand to be able to receive the finished XLIFF file. In this case, you need to export a MQXLZ.
  • You can choose to save the XLIFF file to a compressed ZIP container file with the MQXLZ file extension.
  • You can choose to include the major version history (see Tracking changes and version control).

Important: If you want users of SDL Trados 2007 or older to translate XLIFF files created by memoQ, copy source to target where empty before exporting into XLIFF.

Note: memoQ 6.0 and higher can import XLIFF files created by memoQ 5.0. The project document created through this import contains all segment data without loss. Documents from memoQ 5.0 imported into memoQ 6.0 and higher via XLIFF can be exported back into the original format in memoQ 6.0 and higher. Documents from 5.0 imported into memoQ 6.0 and higher via XLIFF lose their preview. Documents from memoQ 6.0 and higher imported into 5.0 via XLIFF retain their segment content but lose the preview and cannot be exported into their original format in 5.0.

How to open the Bilingual Export Wizard:

  1. In the Translations pane of Project home – either on the Documents or the Views tab –, select one or more documents or views, and click the Export bilingual button on the Documents ribbon tab. Alternatively, you can right-click the selected documents or views, and choose Export bilingual from the popup menu.
  2. Select the memoQ XLIFF, TRADOS-compatible bilingual DOC or the Two-column RTF option for the desired bilingual document format. Then, use the check boxes (where applicable) to fine-tune the export.
  3. When you selected the document format, and adjusted the options, click Export. Then you will be able to select the location and name of the file to export the document into.

memoQ XLIFF export options:

  • Include skeleton and preview check box: When checked, memoQ exports the formatting information into the memoQ XLIFF file along with the translation units. If another user imports the resulting XLIFF file in her copy of memoQ, she will be able to export the formatted translation. If you do not include the skeleton, this is not possible. Use this option when the XLIFF file will be processed in another copy of memoQ. Uncheck this check box if you plan to transfer the document to a different tool because the formatting skeleton is memoQ-specific, and no other tool can restore the formatted translation from it.
  • Include major version history: This includes the version history of the documents in the export.
  • Save a compressed file check box: For smaller file size, check this check box. memoQ creates XLIFF files (*.mqxlz). MQXLZ cannot be imported into other tools. You need to export as *.mqxliff. In order to do this, click the [Plain XLIFF for other tools] link. This will automatically deactivate all check boxes that are needed for a MQXLZ export and will generate MQXLIFF files.

Trados-compatible bilingual DOC export options:

Trados-compatible bilingual DOC files are legacy bilingual Word documents using special styles, hidden text and text protection. These files are created by SDL Trados versions 2007 or earlier. This document type was abandoned in SDL Trados Studio 2009, but in many organizations, this type of DOC file is still a standard way of transferring bilingual documents. 

memoQ can save fully formatted bilingual Word documents if the source document was a pre-segmented Trados-compatible bilingual Word document. From documents of other formats, memoQ can save an unformatted bilingual Word document, which is useful if the document needs to be reviewed in Word, and then returned to memoQ.

Important: To export your work in a fully formatted bilingual Word document, the original document must be a pre-segmented Trados-compatible bilingual Word document.

With Trados-compatible bilingual documents, you can set the following options:

  • Export context matches as 100% check box: SDL Trados 2007 and earlier versions do not support context matches similar to the 101% matches is memoQ. If the exported bilingual document will be transferred to Trados, check this check box. When indicating the match rate in the document, memoQ will use 100% wherever 101% occurs.
  • Export markup for empty translations check box: If checked, memoQ will export necessary hidden tags for segments that were not translated. If you uncheck this check box, memoQ will export untranslated source segments without any Trados-style Word markups.
  • Simple formatting check box: When checked, memoQ exports the document contents without the original formatting. This is the only option if the source document is a DOC or RTF file and is converted to DOCX on import into your local memoQ project.


  1. Import your DOC or RTF file using the DOCX option. The files will be converted to DOCX on import.
  2. Export the imported file as Trados-compatible bilingual DOC file. This might be the case to send the file to your colleague who still uses Trados 2007. On the Documents ribbon tab, choose Export > Export Bilingual. Choose the TRADOS-compatible bilingual DOC radio button. This way, you ensure that you are able to update your document when you receive back the translated or reviewed Trados bilingual DOC file from your colleague.
  3. To import the translated Trados bilingual DOC file, go to the Documents ribbon tab, choose Import > Import With Options. memoQ recognized the file and automatically chooses the Update action to update the file in your project.

Note: This is intended for memoQ desktop application using a multilingual export in local projects.

Behavior in projects with multiple target languages

When you work in a multilingual project, and the language selector in the Translations pane of Project home is set to All languages, the Bilingual export wizard and behaves a little different.

The dialog for choosing the format and adjusting the options becomes the first page of a two-page wizard. After you make your selections, you need to click Next instead of Export. Then a second wizard page appears to choose whether you want to export all files into a single folder, and have the language code in the file names (Append language code to file name radio button), or export all files into separate folders, where the folders are named after the language code (Create subfolders for each language radio button). It is best to choose the first radio button if you are exporting a single document, and the second one if you are exporting multiple documents.

After you make your selection, click Export. Then you will be able to select the location and name of the file to export the document into.

Important: memoQ does not display the second wizard page if you select one of the target languages in the language selector of Project home.

Important: To set up multilingual projects, you need the memoQ project manager edition. Multilingual projects are not available in the translator pro edition.

Two-column RTF export options:

If you choose the two-column RTF format, you can control how memoQ creates the two-column RTF document.

Layout section:

  • Export comments check box: If you tick this, memoQ creates an extra column in the table with the comments exported from the selected document. This option is turned on by default.
  • Export segment status check box: If you tick this, memoQ creates an extra column in the table that shows the segment status: both the colors and the match rate. This option is turned on by default.
  • Two target columns in table check box: If you tick this, memoQ exports the target column twice. In the word processor, the reviewer should leave the first target column intact, and modify the second target column. If this option is turned on, the Leave second target column empty check box is also active, where you can instruct memoQ to omit the text from the second target column. Both options are turned off by default.

Format section:

  • Format tags with the "mqInternal" style check box: If this is ticked, all characters belonging to formatting tags will be formatted with the "mqInternal" style. Documents exported in this fashion are easier for memoQ to import or update, and it is also easier to spot any formatting errors in the bilingual RTF table. This option is turned on by default.
  • Export the full text of inline tags check box: If this is ticked, memoQ exports all text in all inline tags. This might make the document extremely difficult to read. On the other hand, the contents of inline tags reveal a lot of information about the formatting of the document. This option is turned off by default.

Miscellaneous section:

  • Export all selected documents in a single RTF file check box: memoQ can include multiple documents in a single multi-column RTF document. This check box is available if you select more than one document. If you tick this check box, memoQ will create a single RTF document, holding the contents of all selected documents. The table has multiple headers to provide for identifying each document. This option is turned off by default.
  • Include locked segments in export check box: memoQ can omit locked segments from the exported RTF document. This prevents the reviewer from accidentally changing text that should be left unchanged. On the other hand, reviewing the text can become difficult if some parts are missing. This option is turned off by default.
To export as two-column RTF is helpful if your colleague does not have a CAT tool and would like to proofread in Word. Send the two-column RTF file to your colleague who will make changes and might leave comments. When you receive the file back, go to your memoQ project, select the file in your project. Then, on the Documents ribbon tab, choose Import > Update from bilingual. memoQ will recognize the file and will update your existing file with the changes from your colleague. You can then use Track changes to see the changes your colleague made. Use the translation grid filtering to look for rows that have comments.

Click Cancel to leave the wizard without exporting any documents. In the second wizard page, click Back to return to the first page and select the bilingual document format again. If you click Export, memoQ exports the selected document(s) in the chosen bilingual format, then closes the wizard.

Translating or editing XLIFF files from other tools in memoQ

You can use memoQ to translate or edit existing XLIFF files. These are files that are created from original monolingual documents in other translation tools. These XLIFF files can be imported into memoQ using the Import or Import with options buttons, and can be exported back to the original XLIFF format using the Export (dialog) or Export (stored path) command.

Note: Do not use the Export bilingual command to export the XLIFF file in this case. It will create another flavor of XLIFF: a memoQ specific XLIFF file that is designed to be translated or otherwise processed in other tools.

Note: Real-time preview is currently not available when translating XLIFF files.

Note: When working with XLIFF documents it is recommended to choose the Show Filtered Inline Tags option. This way only those attributes will be displayed that are useful for the translator and disturbingly long tags can be avoided.

Translating memoQ XLIFF files in SDL Studio 2011

If you receive memoQ XLIFF files, you can import them into your SDL Studio 2011 project.

You have 2 ways to do this:

You receive memoQ XLIFF files (file extension *.mqxliff). Before importing the files, go to the File Type dialog in SDL Studio, then go to the XLIFF filter. Add the file extension *.mqxliff to it. Now you can import the memoQ XLIFF files.

 You receive memoQ XLIFF files (file extension *.mqxlz). The MQXLZ file format is a compressed format. Use a ZIP tool such as 7Zip to open the package. You will find a document and a skeleton.xml file. The document is the actual memoQ XLIFF file that you can import as describe under 1.; the skeleton.xml file contains the structure/format information for exporting the document. Unzip the file, import the document.mqxliff file into your SDL Studio project.

Translating memoQ XLIFF files in SDL Studio 2014

If you receive memoQ XLIFF files, you can import them into your SDL Studio 2014 project.

SDL Studio 2014 supports the memoQ XLIFF file extension. You do not need to add it separately as in SDL Studio 2011.

You can use an app from Open Exchange to enable MQXLZ import. Install the app. Then go to the File Type dialog. SDL Studio will ask you to enable the app, follow the steps to enable the app. After enabling the app, you will find a XLIFF MemoQ Kilgray category in your File Types. 

Note: You need to go to File Types, then choose the XLIFF filter, and remove the *.mqxliff extension from the supported XLIFF formats. Otherwise, you cannot import MQXLZ files.

See also:

Bilingual formats and track changes

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