Written by Andy Ferrett
Oct 15, 2014

Free online XLIFF editor

At WWDC 2014 there were a number of noteworthy releases from Apple. One that gathered perhaps a little less attention was the adoption of the XLIFF file format.

What is XLIFF?

Basically, xliff is simply an xml file structured specifically for localization. This can be exported from Xcode in a chosen language, e.g en.xliff and then translated to another required language, say fr.xliff and then imported back into Xcode. Simple eh? Apple seem pretty confident that this is now ‘industry standard’ so it’s worth developers paying attention.

But where to edit XLIFF files?

Here at Brightec we were thrilled with this new development, localisation should now be a much simpler process, but we quickly discovered a small problem. We couldn’t find a free online tool we could utilise to edit the new XLIFF files. Many of the big online translation software services don’t yet support it and may not for a while yet.

There are a number of companies that will happily translate your files for you but, of course, in exchange for a quick buck.

Our solution

Never to be easily put off, we got our heads together and came up with a solution. ‘Boys, let’s just build our own yeah?’ So, without further ado, that’s exactly what we did.

Introducing our very own online XLIFF editor: http://xliff.brightec.co.uk/

Our approach

Our free XLIFF editor is a simple online tool that will take a file with the .xliff or .xlf extension and make it into an online form with the text strings laid out and a text field for the translations to be added.

The tool doesn't have any database built in. So, users can just upload, edit and download again. Re-uploading a file will populate all of the form inputs so that a user can see which test is left to translate.

Of course every line is numbered and a handy button shows only the lines still needing translation so you can navigate the file easily.

What else is there?

Now, it would be remiss of us to not mention some of the other tools out there. We won’t pretend this is the only editor you’ll find.


This is probably the most popular out there at present. A few of our observations:

  • Needs to be installed onto your own web server
  • Hasn't been updated in a long time
  • Installation is really hard, it's built in Python using the Django framework
  • We couldn't get any .xliff file to load into it, although others report they have had some success


  • Needs downloading and using locally
  • Doesn't work on iOS


<li>Apparently works on iOS, but we couldn't get it to work</li>


  • Seems reasonably powerful
  • Needs to be installed onto your own web server
  • Appears to be quite ‘buggy’
  • Far to complicated for most translators to comfortably use

Brightec’s free online XLIFF editor

Hopefully our tool will be what you’re looking for. Let us know of any improvements or changes you think it needs.