How to Track Revisions at Any Stage of the Translation Workflow for Any Document Type or Format

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It often becomes necessary to track the changes that the editor has made to a translator’s work as well as to understand how the target text has changed at different steps of translation workflow. This is particularly relevant when working with machine translation, where it’s essential to know exactly what modifications have been made in post-editing. However, it can be very inconvenient if not impossible to document and view such edits directly in a CAT program. At best, the changes are tracked in a segment from stage to stage, but it isn’t possible to compile all of the edits in a separate file after particular process stages. 

Thanks to XLIFF open standard, the challenge can be solved with a new function in the Rigora Studio software, which converts a bilingual XLIFF file into a familiar two-column Word document. Almost all CAT programs let you export project files as a set of XLIFF files at any step. All that remains is to convert the two XLIFF files (before and after the process step) to Word files and then use the Compare function in Word for a side-by-side visual assessment.

Because the XLIFF files that are output by a CAT tool are in the same format before and after any stage in the translation workflow, comparison function works perfectly, and one can clearly discern all of the changes the editor has made. The CAT system might not offer a way to view different versions of the document holistically at various stages, in which case it certainly will not provide a history of changes in a convenient format. So, the universal solution is to take “snapshots” of the contents of project files in XLIFF format. That method is suitable at any point in the process, regardless of which CAT tool is used, cloud or desktop. The result can be saved as a separate document for discussion and training, commented, etc. 

The XLIFF format is especially convenient here because it lets you visualize the history of changes in files of any format during the translation process. Using the XLIFF-to-Word document export function in the Rigora tool lets you:

  • Return editor’s corrections to translators for use as “homework,” with the addition of the editor’s comments made directly in the Word document;
  • Pass on the corrections in the translations made at the last moment to DTP specialists in a convenient visual form;
  • Evaluate the post-edit quality of machine translation; and
  • Extract translations from the CAT system and send them to the reviewer in the usual Word document format without the need to grant the reviewer access to the system and train him or her in its use.


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