Sketch Plugin

Translating with the Smartling Sketch Plugin

Ensure your Sketch plugin is always up to date.

In this article, we will explore how to;

Log into Smartling via Sketch

  1. Launch Sketch Desktop App
  2. Click Plugins > Smartling > Account > Smartling Account
  3. Log in using your Smartling credentials
  4. Select the Smartling project you want to submit Sketch content to for translation
  5. Choose to exclude irrelevant strings
    • Enable this setting to exclude strings that are just numbers, symbols or other sequences that don't require translation.
    • Unselect this checkbox to include this content for translation.
  6. Choose to unlink, making Sketch libraries local
    • Enabling this setting will unlock your Sketch library content, such as symbols, for translation.
    • Unselect this checkbox to keep your Sketch library content excluded from translation.
  7. Choose to remove all formatting
    • Enabling this setting means only plain text is submitted for translation, and that translations cannot be delivered via the plugin
    • Unselect this checkbox to keep formatting within the JSON file and allow for translation delivery via the plugin
  8. Click Save
  9. Once the confirmation flag appears, you can click X to close out the window


Preparing Sketch Content for Translation in Smartling

Although, there is very little to no file prep. required before submitting Sketch content for translation in Smartling, it might be worthwhile checking that all strings (layers containing text), are as they should be.

All text is ingested for translation. However, if you would like to placeholderize content, (meaning make a word or string not translatable), you can simply apply curly brackets, i.e. {} or {{}}, around to word or string, then select the placeholder checkbox when you submit the content for translation (step 8).

If you use curly brackets for another purpose, and would like the content in the brackets translated, ensure to update them to another type of bracket before submitting the content for translation.


Submit Sketch Content for Translation in Smartling

  1. Open the Sketch file that you want to translate
    • This is the source file that the Smartling plugin will convert into a JSON file for translation
    • You must have the page open in Sketch to take any action on it via the Smartling plugin
    • All Smartling Plugin options can be found under the Plugins menu at the top navigation
  2. Click Plugins > Smartling > Submit Translation from the Sketch menu. 
  3. Select the page(s) you want to submit for translation > NextScreenshot_2020-11-20_at_14.08.56.png
  4. You will see a preview of all strings that have been extracted from the current page, grouped by Artboard.
  5. Using the checkbox on the left, select the string(s) you want to submit for translation
    • You can unselect content that does not need a translation.
    • This is especially useful when you don't want to translate elements of the mobile OS, such as the clock or battery level. Screenshot_2020-11-20_at_14.10.36.png
  6. To view the string key/variant, click the downward arrow on any of the strings.
  7. Click the pencil icon edit the key name.
  8. Choose to turn any text inside {} and {{}} into non-translatable placeholdersScreenshot_2020-11-20_at_14.32.49.png
  9. Click Next to proceed
  10. Complete the Job details dialog.
    1. Choose to add the content to an existing Job and choose the existing Job from the dropdown, or choose to create a new Job and name the new Job
    2. Give the Job a deadline.
      • This defaults to one day in advance from the current day, but you can update this to sometime in the future of the same day.
    3. You can give the linguists additional details on how you want the Job translated by providing a description
    4. Choose to pre-authorize the Job, meaning once you complete these steps, the Job will automatically authorize and proceed with the translation in the target language's default workflow.
      • If you choose not to select this checkbox, the Job will sit in Awaiting Authorization in Smartling until a user Authorizes the Job for translation. This option allows the user to decide the workflow in which the language should be translated in, as well as view a cost estimate before commencing translation.
    5. Select the target languages for the translation (required)Screenshot_2020-11-20_at_14.45.17.png
  11. Click Submit to submit the content to Smartling for translation
  12. Once complete, the Translation Submitted dialog will appear with the Job summary.
    • Click the hyperlinked Job name to open the Job in Smartling on your browser.
  13. Close to continue working in Sketch.

Editing Key Identifiers

A key is a unique identifier for a string. By default, Sketch provides a unique identifier which you can also view in Smartling. You can now edit the key name to give it more relevance for you. The key can contain letters and numbers, underscores, and hyphens but can not contain spaces.  Note, key names must be unique per string. Key names cannot be repeated.

  • Click the downward arrow to reveal the assets and keys.Screenshot_2020-11-20_at_14.14.31.png
  • To edit the key, click the pencil icon. Click the tick to save.Screenshot_2020-11-20_at_14.14.48.png


Working with Key Identifiers

A key uniquely identifies the string, meaning the key can be used to quickly find a string in Smartling or in the JSON file.

Strings View

  • In Smartling, you can find the key name under the File/URL column in the Strings View.


  • Search for strings with a specific key identifier using the Key/Variant field
  • Note that the Key/Variant search box does not support spaces. If your key name has spaces in Sketch, it will not return a result when searching in Smartling. It's best to use underscores (_) to separate words in key names.


The CAT Tool

Users working in the CAT Tool can view the string key under Additional Details on the top-right panel, beside Variant.


Editing the key name will not remove the default Sketch key identifier from the string, but rather add to it, so you can search for the string easily in Smartling.

Note that the edited key name is also visible in the source and translated JSON file that you can download from the files tab within the Job Details page in Smartling, however, the original key names (not the edited key names) are found in the exported JSON via the Smartling Plugin action Export (Manual).

Retrieve Translations from Smartling

Once your translations are complete in Smartling, you can send translations directly to your Sketch app by Applying Translations via the Translation Status model. Alternatively, a Smartling user can download the translated files from Smartling and manually import them into Sketch. 

Import Translations From File

To import translated JSON files into Sketch:

  1. Click on Plugins > Smarting > Import (Manual) from the Sketch Menu.
  2. Select your translated JSON file from your directory.
  3. Click Open to import or Cancel to exit menu.

Export Content to File

You can export a JSON file of your Sketch page. One Sketch page can be exported at a time. If your design has multiple pages, you will need to export each page individually.

  1. To export content, click on Plugins > Smarting > Export (Manual)
  2. Select the Page you want to Export. You can select multiple Pages to download.
  3. Select the strings you want to include in the exported file. Click the downward arrow on each string to expand to view sub-strings.
  4. Click Export
  5. A zip file will download to your local drive, containing a PNG and a JSON of each of your Sketch pages

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