Translating Final Draft files (FDX/FDXT)
Thread poster: Tom Gale

Tom Gale  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:41
French to English
+ ...
Dec 16, 2012


As far as I can tell from the forums there hasn't been any talk on translating Final Draft Files.

One of my clients has requested that I work with Final Draft files to translate movie scripts. I don't own the software and am reluctant to buy it. I have downloaded a demo and exported some of the compatible file types to see if I can import them into memoQ or Fluency but have been unsuccessful...

The file types are basically XML files (.fdx & .fdxt) but they seem to be unsupported by CAT tools. It's possible to export as an RTF and then translate, however that seems to remove the various tags linked to the translation such as whether it's a character, a scene, a heading, speech etc. so when it reimports you have to re-tag the whole thing. This is problematic when the client doesn't speak the target language!

I think I've found a (rather crude) solution to this problem. If you add the file extension of the .fdxt to .html in Windows Explorer (so that the file effectively ends in .fdxt.html you can then import the file into a CAT tool like memoQ and translate it.

Once translated, export and remove the .html extension and when you open it up in Final Draft the tags seem to be right where they should be.

I'm not sure how reliable this method is as I don't have any programming experience so some feedback would be most welcome, however it does seem to work in principle!

If anyone knows of a safer way of converting the files to HTML and back again or if they have another method they would like to share then I'm sure it would be most appreciated!


Tom45 (X)
Local time: 06:41
Skip html, go for xml? Dec 16, 2012

Personally I'd go for a CAT tool that supports XML directly (most of them do ...). Going from XML to HTML is already one conversion that can cause troubles.


Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:41
Spanish to English
+ ...
Tom - Did you find out more about this? Jan 16, 2013

Hi, Tom.

Did you ever work out whether the solution you described is okay or if there's a better approach?

I've had a few Final Draft jobs. My previous solution - exporting to RTF, translating in memoQ, and then individually cutting and pasting chunks back into FD - is far from optimal.


Tom Gale  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:41
French to English
+ ...
I think so... Jan 16, 2013

Hi Steven,

I think I did. I haven't had the opportunity to test it out on a project but it looks like it works on test files that I've used in Final Draft.

Basically I just added a .xml extension to the file name in windows explorer (I'm sure you can do that on a Mac too) and imported it into memoQ and once the translation was exported, just delete the .xml extension and import it into Final Draft.

Worst case scenario you can try it that way and if it doesn't work for you, copy and paste as you would usually do. At the very least it won't lose you any time!

(Note: make sure that when you change the file name that the box 'Hide extensions for known file types' in Folder Options is unchecked. Otherwise you'll only change the file name and not the file extension, which is what you want to do.)

Hope that all makes sense. Long story short it's the same fix as my first post but using .xml instead of .htmlicon_biggrin.gif


Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:41
Spanish to English
+ ...
Thanks! Jan 26, 2013

That should be a big time saver!


Russian Federation
Local time: 07:41
Russian to English
Final Draft with non-latin languages (Cyrillic in our case) Apr 12, 2013

I spent most of the day working on this, but I now have a clean workflow that is going to save our team and the producers we work with countless hours.

It allows us to do something that wasn't possible before: keep scripts in Final Draft format and translating into Russian. Here's how the magic works:

1) Take the original Final Draft file from your writer. Rename the file extension fdx to xml
(if revision mode was on in FD it's a very good idea to use Production menu/Clear Revised first in FD to avoid LOTS of messy tags)
2) Import into your translation software using a basic XML filter (memoQ in our case—didn't even change the settings)
3) Translate
4) Export the xml and rename the extension to fdx
5) Import into Adobe Story (the free version works fine). Change the font to Minon or Myrid Pro (first turn on the Formatting Toolbar in the View menu to do so)
6) Bask in the Beauty. Export any which way you like.

Hope someone else finds this as geektastic and sexy as I do. Many thanks to Tom for the fdx>xml renaming trick!

Natasha da Silva

Lucy Williams  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:41
Member (2009)
Spanish to English
Final Draft files with Trados 2011? Jan 22, 2014

I know this is an old thread, but I was wondering if anyone knows about translating Final Draft files with Trados 2011. A client of mine has just asked me to start using Final Draft in the future but I have a large TM that I use so need to keep using Trados.

I'll repost in a separate thread as well in case this one is too old to get any replies.



Tom Gale  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:41
French to English
+ ...
don't see why not Jan 22, 2014

Hi Lucy,

The method described above should in theory work fine in Trados if it doesn't import the final draft files themselves.

let us know how you get onicon_smile.gif


ILS Wien
Local time: 06:41
German to English
+ ...
Translation of fdx files in memoQ Jun 25, 2014

Hi all,

I had the same problem a while ago: I wanted to translate an fdx file (Final Draft) in memoQ.

I wrote to the support and they told me that it's possible to import an fdx file even without adding the extension xml in the Windows explorer. This works as follows:

- import the fdx file by choosing "Import with Options"
- choose in the explorer window to show "All formats" (instead of "All supported formats")
- select your file
- make sure that the XML filter is activated
- just proceed with the translation as usual

Best regards


Mark Daniels  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:41
Serbian to English
+ ...
XML problems with Final Draft (FDX) files Dec 1, 2015

Bumping this thread - I have also been given FDX files to translate, and I get that they are XML format - the trouble is that it's a really messy format with tonnes and tonnes of tags. In fact each individual word has it's own set of formatting tags, like this:

<Text> </Text>
<Text AdornmentStyle="-1" Background="#FFFFFFFFFFFF" Color="#000000000000" Font="Courier Final Draft" RevisionID="0" Size="12" Style="">jednog</Text>
<Text>. </Text>
<Text AdornmentStyle="-1" Background="#FFFFFFFFFFFF" Color="#000000000000" Font="Courier Final Draft" RevisionID="0" Size="12" Style="">dana</Text>
<Text> </Text>
<Text AdornmentStyle="-1" Background="#FFFFFFFFFFFF" Color="#000000000000" Font="Courier Final Draft" RevisionID="0" Size="12" Style="">bio</Text>
<Text> </Text>
<Text AdornmentStyle="-1" Background="#FFFFFFFFFFFF" Color="#000000000000" Font="Courier Final Draft" RevisionID="0" Size="12" Style="">jedan</Text>
<Text> </Text>
<Text AdornmentStyle="-1" Background="#FFFFFFFFFFFF" Color="#000000000000" Font="Courier Final Draft" RevisionID="0" Size="12" Style="">èovek</Text>
<Text> </Text>

The result is that when I import it into SDL Studio each word gets its own TU/segment, which is obviously useless. All these tags are completely superfluous - any idea why it does this, or how to simplify the XML to consolidate the tags, or how to get SDL to ignore this redundancy? I should mention not all the UTF-8 characters are showing correctly either (è instead of č), but I guess I will have to live with that.

At the moment we are exporting into RTF and then importing it back, but I believe some of the metadata gets lost that way, I would rather deliver in a format the client can then use in Final Draft just the same as the original.

[Edited at 2015-12-01 10:03 GMT]


SDL Community  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:41
Member (1970)
Just make your... Dec 20, 2015

... rule for the text element inline and then they'll all be on one line, apart from the one first one as this also has a full stop which will act as a segmentation rule.

You will still have to deal with the tags though and this is simply because if the source file needs them then so does the target and you'll have to put them there.


SDL Community Support


Ute Neumaier  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:41
Member (2008)
Spanish to German
+ ...
which rate for the translation of scripts with final draft Jan 21, 2018

Hello everybody,
I have just tried to find infos about how to charge the translation of a script working in Final Draft and I have come across this question, which refers more to the technical side of working with Final Draft. But maybe you can help with my question too. I have a scrip of 120 Final Draft pages. It has to be translated from Spanish to German. The author bought Final Draft and I could download it. But I don´t know how to charge it, and I would like to know what is the usual rating for the translations of scripts. When I take my word rate it will be very expansive. When I try to make an hourly rate I find it hard to estimate the total amount of hours needed precisely. It is spoken spanish, so that is mostly easy to translate. But there aer song texts (tangos) which are tricky (very poetic) and need time and a lot of "bad words", which are common in Spanish, but can be rude in German. Also in Final Draft I guess that I am not as fast as I am working with my other cat tools. Can you help? Thanks a lot! Ute


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