PO file

How to simply switch target and source roles in Trados Studio instead of converting PO files

Tired of converting PO files? Annoyed with deleting the content of the target segments before entering your translation? Want to use the target text of a PO file as source text in Trados Studio? Try out our PO file type definition for Trados Studio! It could come in really handy.

PO file with GNU gettext format

Many applications use Portable Object (PO) files mainly for storing translations of the user interface (UI). Each language has its own PO file. The file format used most is GNU gettext. Each PO file contains entries with the source text, which serves as a reference in the code, and the target text, which is actually shown to the user.

The text in the code is often written by the programmer who created it. The source text may then be in “programmer” English and is usually replaced in the UI by the target text of an English PO file. This means the source text is sometimes a poor basis for a translation.

Alternatively, you could simply prefer to use a different language than the source language as a basis for translation. For example, use the German text instead of the English.

Translating using Trados Studio

In Trados Studio, you will get the PO source and target text when preparing the file with the built-in PO file type definition.

Trados PO file - built-in

If the source text is not a good basis, you will probably use the target text and replace it with your translation. This makes it harder to proofread the translation since the text which was used for translation is gone. You will have to use the original PO file in order to have a look at the original target text.

With our plugin, it is possible to specify whether the PO target text should be shown as the source text in Trados Studio and thus be used as the basis for your translation. For example, if you have a PO file with English as the source and German as the target, you can create a translation into French using the German text and generate a translated PO file with English as source and French as target without having to convert any PO files. This can also be applied to PO files with “programmer” English as the source and corrected English as the target.


Show PO target text as source

Trados PO file - show PO target

Trados PO file - with PO target as source

It is also possible to define whether the target text of the PO file should be added to the target segments in Trados or not.


Add PO target text (like built-in PO file type definition)

Trados PO file - Add PO target

Trados PO file - PO target added as target


Do not add PO target text

Trados PO file - Do not add PO target

Trados PO file - PO target not added

With these settings you won’t need to convert any PO files anymore and surely won’t have to remove or replace any texts in target segments.

More features

The plugin supports embedded content replacement with tags. The default settings already contain common placeholders and tag pairs for HTML.

Trados PO file - embedded content settings

Trados PO file - embedded content replaced with tags

If you click on the field structure information next to the segment, you will get information about the location of the entry and the entry’s message context if applicable.

Trados PO file - structure information

Download and installation

Download the plugin here and double click on the .sdlplugin file to start the plugin installer.


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