ex TranslationFilter

Bidirectional export and import of QuarkXPress and Adobe InDesign text content into an XLIFF file or a Microsoft Word document and back

Most companies, who have to give away translation jobs to translation agencies, will face the same problem: the software, which has been used to layout the documents to be translated, is not available to the translation agency, or they are using a different software version, or the fonts are not available, or...

This is a general issues with marketing material, eg. with catalogs or package design. Layout agencies and marketing departments will usually use QuarkXPress or Adobe InDesign for creating these print products.

Should the translation agency not have access to this software, the company placing the order has only two options: They could contract a translation agency, which is using the same software, or they have to export the content, which should be translated, in a common file format, like RTF or Microsoft Word. The first option is a substantial reduction to the number of translation agencies being able to take the offer, while the latter option will multiply the workload for the layout personnel. On top of this, it will raise the error rate, because the export and later re-import of the content has to be done manually. The solution for this dilemma is ex TranslationFilter. Using this software the export and import of content from QuarkXPress and Adobe InDesign in form of XLIFF, RTF and Microsoft Word files will become like a child's play.

The advantages for companies using ex TranslationFilter are quite obvious:

  • No need of providing the translation agency with the required IT infrastructure
  • No accidental layout corruption due to the translation workflow
  • No "cryptic" XML files
  • Reduction of cost because the translation can be freely chosen
  • Saving time because exporting and re-importing the content takes only a few clicks
  • Layout and text formats are automatically correct after importing the translation

We also offer the server-based solution ex TranslationFilter Server, which enables the translation agency to work either directly on the layout document using the web browser of their choice, or to download the content as XLIFF, RTF or Microsoft Word file.

How it works:

The complete text of a QuarkXPress or Adobe InDesign layout document can be exported to an XLIFF file or a Microsoft Word or RTF document with only a few clicks using ex TranslationFilter. The content will be structured automatically (text boxes, paragraphs, table cells or format changes are determining the individual segments) to guarantee that the document will keep its formatting after applying the translation.

Original catalog page (Click to enlarge)


Should the layout document contain different layers holding the text, the different layers can be selected and exported. Longer documents can divided into smaller chunks by exporting page ranges.


The content of the text boxes is being structured by the text frame identifiers of the layout software (exBoxID in the sreenshot) and by the content related structures described above. The XLIFF files created by ex TranslationFilter can be imported by all major translation systems.

If you have exported to a Microsoft Word or RTF file, these documents can be opened by all major word processing applications. These applications usually feature a function like "Create table", which will create a two-columned table from the document. The content in the source language will be in the left table column. The corresponding cells in the right column can now be filled with the translated content. If there is no text in the right column, the original content will be kept.

Original text box content
Translated text box content


The XLIFF or word processing document containing the translation is now ready to be imported back into the layout document.

Depending on the options selected, the source language content can be kept as an additional (hidden) layer in the document. This gives you quick and easy control or a comparison with the translation.


Translated catalog page


After the import the dialog "Import Results" will show an overview of the translation status of each text box. If the content of a textbox has been translated, it will be marked as OK; if a text box did not need translation, the status "No changes" will appear. You can jump directly to each text box from the dialog. This allows you to make further changes to the box.

A final check of the layout is advised in any case. – primarily to check language related changed to the length of the text (e.g. overset text boxes – for automatic control of these features we recommend tools like ex Overset or ex ColumnBalance).


All general default settings will be set in the Preferences dialog of the XTension or the Plug-in. We show the preferences dialog for Export as an example here. You will find all other dialogs here.


Of course we have to (and we will do on a regular basis) implement customer specific requirements. For example:

  • Language specific options within a catalog, e.g. delivery options only available to certain countries, can be removed automatically.
  • Integration of translation tables containing technical terms into the export
  • Integration into major translation systems (e.g. SDL Trados, Across, Ontram, memoQ)
  • Specific consideration of article numbers or prices
  • Automatic calculation of foreign prices and currencies

PLEASE NOTE: ex TranslationFilter for QXP 10 Mac don't work with QuarkXPress 10.1! If you are working with TranslationFilter in QXP 10 Mac or you would like to test it, don't update your QuarkXPress to v10.1.

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Note: ex TranslationFilter with Trados Studio 2014

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