Friday, 15 April 2011

SDLXLIFF filetype options - embedded file or not?

You may have already noticed that sdlxliff file are pretty big, even if the number of segment to translate is small...
One of the reason is that the original document is embedded in the sdlxliff file itself during the conversion:

you have a 10MB file with a lot of pictures, you convert it (standard settings) and get a 11 MB sdlxliff file although there are only a few segments to translate.

First difficulty: when the sdlxliff file is over 15/20MB, Studio begins to show some difficulties to open the including package, and then the file itself in the Editor. It takes a ......long...... time. Sometimes it crashes (>30 MB on my computer).

Second difficulty: because you have in each language directory a copy of the original file and its embedded clone in the corresponding sdlxliff, this means for 32 target languages, 130 copies of your original file (counting the project packages, return packages and the source language directory!), you must cope with extra data storage costs.

You have the possibility to set a "maximum embedded file size" to limit the size of your resulting xliff file. 
But what happen then in particular if I set this sdlxliff filetype option to zero?

If the storage "problem" is something important for you (how many copies are there if you back-up your hard disk to protect your work from hardware failures?), you can think about it.
But you have to consider these inconvenients:

- The translator may be unable to take a look at the source file. Some source files are not automatically attached in project package, doc file for example. This makes the translation more difficult, particularly when the context is not clear.
- The translator gets a warning message when he tries to open the corresponding sdlxliff file, saying that the source document can't be found. It may make him nervous. (fortunately, he can translate the xliff anyway)
- The project manager can't use the batch task "Update Main Translation Memories", because he can't find the source file. This seems to be a bug, because the source file is always saved, in each (target and source) language directory. I proposed a workaround in a previous post.

I recommand here to let the maximum size on 20, maybe 10 if your computer is slow, to avoid these difficulties. If your files are too big and you set the size to 0, communicate the inconvenients to your collegues and contractors, so that they don't wonder!

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