Best way to translate .properties files in TRADOS
Thread poster: Brigitte Hamilton

Brigitte Hamilton  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:24
Member (2007)
German to English
Sep 14, 2007

Hello everyone,

I have been asked to take a look at translating a number of .properties files. This is the first time I have done this type of file - I opened one in Trados and I can work with it, ie. translate it, but I am not sure how to convert it back to a .properties file, as the preview mode only shows me a txt file (in Notepad), and the working file is an itd file. I have taken a look at the manuals, but was not able to find info on this particular topic. Can anyone help, thanks.

update: I think I have figured it out (but feel free to comment if there is another way, thanks....) - preview in trados shows the .properties file in Notepad, but seems to keep the right file extension when saving, so I am able to keep the file format.

[Edited at 2007-09-14 15:14]


Heike Behl, Ph.D.  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:24
Member (2003)
English to German
+ ...
TE / Tool / Word Sep 14, 2007

Since version 7.5, TagEditor is supposed to handle properties files.

Don't even try it (unless your using version 8 and this has been fixed). Everything looks OK, but there are some problems when distinguishing the keys from the actual values. I don't remember the details, but it was a bit mysterious since the key-value-pairing is pretty straightforward.

Another issue, if I remember correctly, was that white space before and after the equal sign was treated as being identically, ie. the white space was removed in the translation process. However, the white space apparently can make a difference for the programmer handling the properties file as I was once explicitly instructed to make sure to keep white spaces in all instances they were used. Since this was the time I was experimenting with properties files in TE, I had to compare all pairs manually afterwards.icon_frown.gif

Further issue: Some characters, such as the ampersand, are interpreted as tag. You cannot delete any of these tags or TE will be unable to clean up the file. Ie. if the source uses an ampersand and the target doesn't, you have to keep the redundant tag in the target segment and remove the character manually after the clean-up.

Some of the TE problems are not immediately noticeable, so you might deliver files to the clients that contain problems.

Trados also includes one of these Tagger programs suitable for properties files (don't remember which one, check the help). That worked OK, and the TE problems did not occur. But I didn't like working in that interface.

After that, I returned to my previous proven approach:
I define the equal sign (with or without trailing/leading spaces) in the segmentation rules as end of TU and work in Word.

There is a little time issue as you have to go through the keys (insert source, or skip over them), but that's worth it knowing that you get the right strings to translate and don't have to worry about unknowingly producing errors in the translation.

Theoretically, it should be easily possible to use the equal sign as delimiter and just create a table with keys in the left column and values in the right column.

As for the format, since properties files are pure text files, you can edit them in Word, just make sure that they are saved in the same coding as the original file (most likely unicode). Don't worry about any extension Word might append, you can just change it back to .properties.


[Edited at 2007-09-14 16:24]


Claudia Alvis  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:24
+ ...
Rainbow 4 Sep 14, 2007

I haven't used it in a while but Rainbow can convert certain type of files to a Trados-compatible document and then back to the original format. I don't know if it works with .properties files or how, but it has save me time before. And it's free.


Stefan de Boeck (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:24
English to Dutch
+ ...
yes Sep 14, 2007

Heike Behl, Ph.D. wrote:
Theoretically, it should be easily possible to use the equal sign as delimiter and just create a table with keys in the left column and values in the right column.

And next apply the tw4winexternal style to the left hand column, reconvert table to text, and there you go.
When done, save the .rtf as .properties and the Trados style will have disappeared.

[Edited at 2007-09-14 19:59]


Anne Bohy  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:24
English to French
beware of .properties disguised in .doc! Sep 14, 2007

I've been asked recently to translate a .properties file converted to .doc (to add some color to it, I guess !) with TagEditor. As it was a test, I did as requested... until I discovered that TagEditor was making a hole mess and altering the message IDs on the left !
That a tranlation agency asked me to do something so wrong (and didn't even admit they were wrong) puzzles me.
ONLY TRANSLATE IN TagEditor a "real" properties file, with .properties suffix.
As I was supposed to give back a .doc file, I translated under Word directly, and it worked fine.
I also tried to revert the file to .properties suffix (losing the fancy colors), and then it worked correctly under TagEditor.
A .properties file is actually no big mystery. You may even translate it under whichever text editor you want (WordPad, for instance).
It's just lines comprising : a keyword, an equal sign, a message. Never translate the keyword, translate ONLY on the right of the equal sign.
It is easy to check if you file is correct at the end.


Brigitte Hamilton  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:24
Member (2007)
German to English
Thanks! Sep 19, 2007

Thanks for your comments - it is true, once I transferred the files out of SDLX back into a txt format, the formatting was all mixed up and I could not reopen them in Word or SDLX (as I was able to do with the original properties files). I manually deleted the extra characters at the beginning and end of the new files (comparing against old files), and that seemed to work.


Cultures Connection
Local time: 11:24
Member (2004)
English to French
+ ...
Does Tag editor handles now .properties files? Jan 21, 2015

Hi there,

Looking at the messages here below, which are from a long time ago, I was wondering if the new versions of tag editor handle .properties files. Does anyone recommend a different tool to manage them?

Many thanks



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Best way to translate .properties files in TRADOS

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