Are there industry-standard file formats for exchanging DITA content for translation?

When it comes to exchanging DITA (Darwin Information Typing Architecture) content for translation, industry-standard file formats and best practices are in place to facilitate the process and ensure seamless communication between various tools and systems.

XML-Based Formats

XML (eXtensible Markup Language) serves as the backbone for DITA content. Therefore, it’s common to use XML-based file formats for translation. This includes DITA XML itself, which can be exported, shared, and processed by translation tools. Additionally, XLIFF (XML Localization Interchange File Format) is widely adopted for translation purposes. XLIFF files offer a standardized way to store translatable content, metadata, and instructions for translators.

TMX for Translation Memory

For managing translation memory, the Translation Memory eXchange (TMX) format is a crucial standard. TMX files store segments of previously translated content, enabling translation tools to leverage existing translations. When working with DITA content, translation memory is invaluable for maintaining consistency across documents and saving time during the translation process.


Here’s an example of DITA content in XML format:

<topic id="document_title">
  <title>Document Title</title>
    <p>This is the content of the document.</p>

This XML snippet represents a basic DITA topic with a title and content. When exchanging content for translation, it’s essential to structure it in a way that translation tools can understand, and XML is the foundation for this process.