Capturing Visual Context

What is OCR?

Smartling uses OCR (Optical Character Recognition) to automatically match the text in image context files to your content. You can choose to match the text in the image with strings in your entire project, or in a specific file in the project, or even disable OCR for an upload.


For OCR to work, make sure your source content (strings) have been uploaded to Smartling before you upload your screenshot. Continue reading for steps on how to troubleshoot OCR.

As soon as an image file is uploaded to Smartling, and matching preferences are decided for the upload, Smartling performs OCR on the image file to automatically match the text in image context files to your content. When there is a successful match, Smartling creates a binding between the text in the image context and the matched string in the content. The result of this is highlighted strings in the Context panel in the CAT Tool.


Matching can be reviewed and modified manually, after the automatic recognition has taken place.

Troubleshooting OCR

Occasionally, OCR may not map strings automatically. There can be a number of reasons why the OCR has not worked as intended. Here are some tips on why OCR may not work;

  • The image is of poor quality / small size file
  • The image contains unusual fonts
  • The image is missing some terms that are included in the string
  • The image contains special characters that are not included in the string
  • The image contains text that is blurry or small
  • The string is too long

Here are some tips to ensure Visual Context is mapped correctly;

  • Ensure the image is high quality and focused.
  • Ensure the image and string contains the same text, in a standard font, with no special characters
  • Always check the matching by clicking the context thumbnail to view the context in detail and remove any mismatched strings
  • Manually map any unmapped strings to ensure Visual Context for Translators

Reviewing OCR and Manually Modifying Matching

The following steps document a soon-to-be deprecated experience. For information on the new experience, read 

  1. Go to your Smartling project
  2. Click the Context tab
  3. Click Image Context
  4. Click any image file tile you want to review to open the Image Context dialog
  5. From here, you can do any of the following:
    • View and modify the image file name (left)
    • View the number of strings in the project associated with the image file (left)
    • View the string(s) associated with the image (right)
    • Manually remove the strings from being associated with the image by clicking the x (right).Screenshot_2021-09-08_at_20.06.12.png
  6. To manually map strings with context, click and drag your pointer on the image where you want to match a string. 
  7. Type the content of the string in the text box
  8. Select the corresponding source string from your content list
  9. Click Save in the string dialog
  10. Click Save in the Image Context dialogScreenshot_2021-09-08_at_20.13.50.png

The context will be applied to that string(s) in the CAT Tool (not the entire job).

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