Converting Bilingual Excel File into TMX for import into translation memory

My clients frequently provide me with bilingual terminology files that need to be implemented into translation. Sometimes, these are classic terminology files (1 up to 5 words per item), but sometimes they contain whole sentences. For classic terminology, I usually convert these data into a (SDL Multiterm) termbase. However, if these files contain whole sentences (or longer items), I usually import them into a translation memory. This is how to convert the bilingual Excel file into TMX for import into your favorite CAT software.


  • MS Excel
  • SDLX (a part of SDL Trados 2007 suite; if you purchased SDL Trados Studio, you should have this software available)

Conversion steps:

  1. Create XLS with two columns. Column A contains source text and column B translated text.
  2. Save the XLS as Unicode Text File (txt). Close the XLS.
  3. Start SDLX. Choose Maintain component.
  4. Create a new SDLX translation memory. Select TM > New. Proceed according to instructions on the screen.
  5. In Maintain component, select TM > Import > Delimited Files. In displayed window, choose Add. Click Add Selection. Select the Unicode text file you exported previously from Excel. Click Open. Click OK and Next.
  6. In Import Wizard, select source and target languages and appropriate encodings. Click Next. In File Options screen, select Tabs option. If your Excel file contains column headers (names of languages), check the “First line contains column headers” checkbox. Click Next.
  7. In the next window, click on Source item in Available box, and click the right arrow to move it to the Selected box. Repeat the same for Target item. Click Next.
  8. In the next screen, select the “Add a new segment to the Translation Memory” radio button and click the Finish button.
  9. In the Create Indexes window, click OK.  In Select Languages box click OK, if displayed languages are correct.

We now have a SDLX translation memory with the data from the Excel file. We will export the SDLX TM into TMX file. This is a fairly simple task.

Select TM > Export > TMX Format. Select All Languages and click OK. Click Next twice, select the export file (Browse, select location, and enter the file name (click Save)) and finish the process by clicking the Finish button.

Voil?, we now have a TMS file containing the data from Excel file ready for import into your favorite CAT software.

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11 Responses to Converting Bilingual Excel File into TMX for import into translation memory

  1. Anna says:

    Your process worked like a charm using Excel, SDLX and importing the tmx to a Studio TM!

  2. Giovanni says:

    Just a question.
    I suspect that not all the Trados Studio 2011 Freelance (Gold/Plus) versions include the SDLX import tool that you mentioned.
    Do you know if it’s mandatory to get the 2007 suite to import 2 columns Excel or spreadsheet translations?

    Tia for answering

    • admin says:

      Hello there,

      This tutorial assumes you have previously purchased SDL Trados 2007 (SDLX is a part of this package). SDLX is not incuded in Studio, as it is considered obsolete (and most probably discontinued) product.

  3. Krzysztof says:

    Thanks, it works nice and easy!

  4. tokamak says:

    Hi Michal!
    I tried to do your suggestion but without success.
    Workbench gives me the message: “import finished SUCCESFULLY. 6883 TUs read in 5 seconds: 0 updated.
    When searching TM there is nowhere new imported term.

    at this link is an image

    I use trados 2007 and SDLX.
    I make it step by step as described above.
    First, import txt (unicode) file to SDLX memory; second, export memory as TMX file; third, import it in workbench as tmx memory.
    But I got message as you can see on image.
    Have I made ??a mistake somewhere?

    • admin says:

      Sorry for late response, I was hospitalized.

      When you import the TXT into SDLX memory, can you see the translation units there?

      Also, when you export the TMX from SDLX, open the file and check whether it contains complete segments (i.e. source and translation).

      When workbench says “X units updated” it means that X units were updated in the TM. It should also show a number of imported units. Maybe, you should maximize workbench window and check the status line for this information.

  5. Georgios Bouroutzakis says:

    Hello Michal,

    just wanted to point you to this:

    To avoid problems with different language versions of excel you replace
    =CONCATENATE(“{0>”;A1;””;B1;”” & A1 & “” & B1 & “<0}"

    Thank you for all the good work you do!

    Kind regards,

  6. Milana says:

    Many thanks, this was very useful.

  7. Hubert says:

    Dear Michal, thank you so much for this post. It works perfectly for me. Best regards

  8. You’re the man! Thanks for your tutorial!!

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