Translation Workflow

The Idle String Rule

Idle strings are strings that have remained in an Edit, Review, or Post-Machine Revision workflow step for longer than intended and are blocking the translation process. For example, a string that has been idle for two days has remained in a workflow step for two days longer than specified by the customer. 

Idle string rules are a component of a post-translation workflow step configuration that prevent idle strings (and workflow steps) from becoming a bottleneck.

They do this by:

  • Sending a reminder email to users that strings are idle.
  • Submitting strings to the next workflow step after a specified number of days.
  • Sending a confirmation email after submitting the strings.

The reminder email is sent once every day and will send a single email to each user for all Jobs & languages on the workflow step where the idle string rule exists. For example, if there’s one workflow step with an idle strings rule, it will send a single email per day to the user with all Jobs and languages assigned to that user

The idle string notifications listed above are sent to users regardless if their Global Notification Preferences are disabled.

Working with idle strings

Since moving strings back to a previous workflow step can be labor-intensive, Smartling recommends setting up procedures to ensure that only idle strings that should be moved forward are affected. Consider configuring your rules to send email reminders to Account Owners and Project Managers before strings are submitted.

Idle Duration

The timeframe in which the string is idle is known as the idle duration. The idle duration typically commences when the string transitions to a workflow step. However, this can be overwritten by the following actions:

  1. Prepublish: If the string is prepublished, the idle duration restarts.
  2. Edit Translation: If the translation is edited by any user in the CAT Tool, or Strings/List View, the idle duration restarts.

This means that the idle duration commences from either when the string moves into a workflow step or from when the string is pre-published, assigned, accepted, or declined, whichever comes last.

Smartling will check for idle strings once a day. If, for example, you have set the configuration to move strings after 2 days, it could be up to a further 24 hours before the string moves.

Create an Idle String Rule

  1. On a supported workflow step (Edit, Review, or Post-Machine Revision), click the down arrow and select Manage Step.
  2. In the dialog that appears, under Automation, you'll see Idle Strings.
  3. (Optional) Select Only count weekdays, so the idle string rule will only send notifications and/or move strings Monday to Friday.
  4. Select the Language(s) for which you want to create the rule. 
  5. Under Send Reminder Email, select the number of days the string needs to be idle before the reminder email is sent. Multi-select to send emails on multiple days.
  6. Under Move String, select on which day the string is idle for before they are automatically moved to the next step in the workflow. Alternatively, select Do not move strings.
  7. In the menus, specify when to Send Reminder Email before the string is moved and when to Move String to the next step. 
  8. Under Reminder Recipients, add the email addresses of the users you want to remind. Optionally, select the checkbox to Send emails to Linguists assigned to step. 
  9. (Optional) Click Add New Rule to repeat the process and create another idle string rule.
  10. Click Save.


Delete an Idle String Rule

  1. On a workflow step with an idle string rule, click the down arrow and select Manage Step
  2. In the dialog that appears, under Idle Strings, do one of the following: 
    • To delete all idle string rules, turn off Idle Strings.
    • To delete a single rule, click the trashcan icon. 
  3. Click Save.


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