Translating Files

Managing Business Documents

In addition to apps and websites, Smartling also helps you translate your business documents, including Microsoft Word (.docx & .doc), Excel (.xlsx), Powerpoint (.pptx) and Adobe InDesign (.idml). You can create a dedicated Business Documents project for your files, or upload business documents to any Files project.

Strings and Segments

To translate your business documents, Smartling parses the content into ‘strings’: individual blocks of text that translators can easily work with. Parsing differs depending on the document type.

  • MS Word: Each paragraph is captured as a string. A new paragraph or line break creates a new string.
  • Excel: Each cell of the spreadsheet is captured as a string in the Smartling dashboard, including the sheet tab name. Data as a result of a formula is not captured and must be typed into the cell without any formulas. Numbers are also not captured unless it is formatted as a text from the format dropdown.


  • PowerPoint: Each text box on a PowerPoint slide is captured as a string. The strings are arranged in order of when each text box was created, not where it is placed on the slide.
  • IDML: Each paragraph within a text frame is captured as a string. A new paragraph or line break creates a new string.

Remember: text that is part of an image cannot be captured for translation.

Each string may be further divided into segments, only visible in the CAT tool. A segment is usually a sentence, with a sentence-ending punctuation mark such as a period (.), exclamation point (!) or question mark (?) creating a new segment.

It is important to note that Smartling ingested all content for translation in Microsoft Word and Excell files (excluding tab names). To exclude the tab name from translation, see Exclude Content from Translation and Restore.

The translated .doc or .xls file will contain the translated content only, as the source content is overwritten. If you would like your translated file to include the source content as well as the translated content, simply copy the source content in the file, and apply a NOTRANSLATE style to the first copy of the source content (see Exclude Content using Styles below for details). The translations will overwrite the second copy and you will have both source and translation in one file.

Microsoft Office files do not support multi-lingual output, so you can only download one translated locale per file.

Exclude Content using Styles

In Microsoft Word and Excel files, you can mark content that you don't want to be translated by using Styles. To do so, simply create a new style called NOTRANSLATE, highlight the text or click the cell you want to exclude , and apply the NOTRANSLATE style to that text/cell. 

This functionality is not available in Microsoft Powerpoint.

Creating the NOTRANSLATE Style - Microsoft Word

As of the latest update to this article, the ability to create styles is only available in the desktop version of Microsoft Word. The web based version of Word does not support the creation of new styles for a document.

Create a style with the name NOTRANSLATE (as pictured) and select the style type Paragraph or Character. Other options should be set to match your regular text. 


Applying the NOTRANSLATE Style - Microsoft Word

To apply the style, highlight the text you want to exclude and select NOTRANSLATE from the style ribbon.


Creating the NOTRANSLATE Style - Microsoft Excel

  1. Click the down arrow under Format and select New Cell Style.
  2. Untick the Style Property checkboxes and set the Style Name to NOTRANSLATE.
  3. If you want to visually mark excluded text in your document, click Format, go to the Fill tab, and select a color. Click OK.

Applying the NOTRANSLATE Style - Microsoft Excel

To apply the style, highlight the cells you want to exclude and select NOTRANSLATE from the style ribbon.

Uploading and Downloading Files

Uploading business documents for translation and downloading translated files follows the same process as resource files, but Business Documents have the extra option of ‘Updating’ a file.

See Download Completed Translations for steps.

Updating Files

When you need to make changes to a Business Document in translation, it’s important to remember that if you upload a similar file with a new filename,for example, File1-1.docx, then File1-2.docx, Smartling will treat it as a completely new file, which may affect billing and cause unnecessary duplication of strings in your project.

Instead, consider using the Update File feature. Updating a file will capture only the parts you have changed as new strings.

To update a file, click it’s card on the Files screen, select Update File and browse to the correct file. Updating the file will change the content of the file, but not the file name.


After you have updated a file, you may want to rename it to match the most recent version. To rename a file, mouseover the name and click the Pencil icon.


You can achieve the same effect as updating by uploading the changed file again as long as you haven’t changed the file name. You will be prompted to confirm that you want to overwrite the existing file. This action will capture only the parts of the document you have changed as new strings.


Adding Instructions

When you upload business documents, Smartling parses all the main text of the document as translatable content, so any notes for translators or explanation of the document not intended to be included in the translated file should be removed. However, you can add instructions to a file within Smartling to give translators any extra information they need. There are two ways to do this:

  1. Upload instructions from the Files screen. Click the file card, select your source language and click Add File Instruction. Instructions can be any file type you want and will be available in the CAT tool for any strings from that file.
  2. Find any individual string in the list view and click the instruction icon to add instructions for that string.

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