Some strings in your Smartling account might contain greyed-out elements in angle brackets.
These are HTML tags, which indicate some type of special formatting in the text to translate.
Most commonly, these tags appear in pairs: with an opening tag to mark the beginning of a certain formatting style and a closing tag to indicate where the formatting style should end.
In the above example, the opening tag <b> marks the beginning of the bold formatting.
The closing tag </b> marks the end of the bold formatting.
In Smartling, HTML tags are greyed-out to indicate that they are blocked from translation and cannot be altered or edited during the translation process.
What the translators see
In the translation interface (called "CAT Tool"), HTML tags are shown as greyed-out number pairs. This makes it easier to visually organize the tags around the translated text and to drag and drop them into the correct position.
HTML tags need to be preserved in the translation and inserted in the correct spot, so the formatting remains protected.
In the above example, the translator needs to identify the part of the German translation which corresponds to the English word for "training modules" and place the tags around it.
If needed, translators have the option to display the actual HTML as it appears in the source text.
This can be helpful when it comes to identifying the correct part of the translation which the tags should be wrapped around.
Similarly to placeholders, the actual HTML within the angle brackets cannot be translated or altered.
Why HTML tags are blocked from translation
It is important to block HTML tags from being translated, so they cannot be corrupted during the translation process.
If translators had access to modify the HTML in your source text or in the translated files, this would present the risk of breaking the correct functioning of your application.
For example, hyperlinks could easily be broken if the link address was editable during the translation process. Similarly, the formatting of your file or webpage could easily be compromised if tags could be altered or removed.
For this reason, Smartling ensures that tags remain protected and cannot be replaced with altered or invalid HTML. Dedicated quality checks ensure that formatting tags aren't removed during the translation process and that the spacing around them stays intact.
Working with HTML tags in Smartling
For most file formats, HTML tags are detected automatically by Smartling.
However, the correct use of tags varies by file type.
HTML tags can be included in resource files and will be recognized automatically.
Once the file gets uploaded to Smartling, any HTML tags within angle brackets are identified automatically and converted to non-translatable, greyed-out elements.
The translators cannot translate or alter these tags, so the formatting remains protected during the translation process:
Business files (Microsoft Word, PowerPoint or Excel)
When translating business files, HTML tags cannot be typed out as part of the translatable text.
Instead, simply use the respective styling option to display the desired formatting.
When the file gets uploaded to Smartling, the styling automatically gets converted into the correct HTML formatting tags.
This allows for the styling to be protected and positioned in the correct spot during the translation process:
Once the translated file gets downloaded, the tags are no longer visible.
Instead, the translations will use the same styling as the source text.
What to do if HTML tags are not identified correctly in Smartling
If any HMTL tags are not identified correctly, they are not greyed-out but show up as translatable text instead.
This typically happens if content containing HTML tags is copied and pasted into a business file from a different application or file format.
This should be corrected to avoid corrupting the HTML during the translation process.
Solution: To ensure that tags are recognized by Smartling, we would recommend using a resource file format instead of a business file. Typically, your best option is to choose the native file format (i.e. the initial file format where this content originated).
You can find a list of all supported file types here.