Editing a prepared file as an xliff file is relatively easy. We only need to edit the file and send it back as a return package or target format. But, what if the file is a plain bilingual Excel file with a thousand rows, and you need to check the translation against a glossary in another Excel file?

Manually checking a translation against the glossary is very time-consuming and will possibly leaving the inconsistencies untouched.

So, how do we import the Excel files (the translated and glossary files) to CAT tools such as Trados to effectively and quickly check the translation using the built-in spellchecker, segment verifier, and terminology checker?


We have two Excel files: one bilingual file and one glossary file. The bilingual file contains two columns (column A: source text, column B: target text) and >1k rows, while the glossary file contains thousands of entries. No xliff file or other CAT tool-ready formats, only a plain bilingual Excel file. We need to import both the bilingual file and the glossary file into Trados.


Trados cannot process the bilingual file directly but will import the whole Excel file as a source, and Trados cannot import the glossary, which is still in Excel format.


In this case, we can use the Align Documents feature inside Trados. Here are the preparation and execution steps:

A. Preparation

1. Prepare the source and target file

Because we don’t have the xliff source file, we can copy the source text (column A) and target text (column B) to new Excel files. Save them as “source.xlsx” and “target.xlsx” respectively.

Note: if your Excel file has “Sheet1”, “Sheet2, and “Sheet3”, but the file to be translated is only in “Sheet1”, please make sure to delete “Sheet2” and “Sheet3”.

Here are the sample files:


  • original_empty.xlsx is the original file from the client. It contains only source text;

source text

  • original_completed.xlsx is the translated file from the translator. It contains source text and target text, side-by-side;

translated text

  • source_to be processed.xlsx is an Excel file that contains ONLY source column;

source text

  • target_contains translated text.xlsx is an Excel file that contains ONLY target column.

target text

2. Convert the glossary file from Excel to a general Termbase format

Convert the glossary from Excel into XML format using SDL Multiterm Convert. Import this XML to SDL Multiterm to create a new termbase set. Or, you can also save the original glossary file (the Excel one) as a tab-delimited text file <.txt> as an alternative. Later, we can use it directly with a QA tool like Xbench without further conversion.

Note: if your Excel file has “Sheet1”, “Sheet2, and “Sheet3”, but the glossary is only in “Sheet1”, please make sure to delete “Sheet2” and “Sheet3”.

3. Align the source and target as a new TM

Run your SDL Trados. Open the Translation Memory view and choose Align Documents. Choose Align Single File Pair -> Create New File-based Translation Memory. Load the source and target text into the appropriate fields. Click Finish.

align document

A window contains source-target alignment is displayed. You can check the alignment result, and if everything is OK, you can click on Confirm All.

align document in trados

Then, click Import to Translation Memory -> Quick Import. An aligned document is now a new TM.

Main Process

Import the source file to Trados to create a new project or a translatable single xliff file. Don’t forget to load the TM you just created in point #3 above, and TB (if you choose to prepare the glossary in the MultiTerm format).

Use Batch Tasks -> Pre-translate Files to “load” the TM into the target segments. Start from here, you can:

  • first, insert the translation based on the TM and confirm the translation;
  • second, perform the editing task, including checking the spelling, inconsistencies, etc.

After the editing is done, you might need to re-check the translation against the termbase. You can do the QA using Xbench for more comprehensive checking.


Once everything is OK, we only need to export the edited xliff file to target text (Generate Target Translation). Then, copy the edited translation back to the very first Excel file (overwrite the current translation, if necessary).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.