Free Applications That Support Opening of TBX Files

tbx format

This a follow up to the post on using Microsoft's Terminology collection for translation purposes. For offline use, Microsoft offers the "translation dictionaries" in the TBX format which is not exactly popular in terms of free software that can open or manipulate it. Luckily there are some few free apps that I stumbled on that do just this.



What is the TBX Format?

TBX which stands for TermBase eXchange is an industry standard that is used for the exchange of terminology data i.e. translation. The format is extended from the XML language.


Applications that Support TBX Format 

1. Virtaal

Virtaal is a free and open source application used for making translations and happens to support the TBX format. Just open the file using Virtaal and then search an English term using Ctrl + F. If the term is available, the program should automatically find the translated terms as you type. The program however doesn't show the definition as far as I can tell.
Using Microsoft's TBX (En-US - SW)  in Virtaal

Supports: Windows & MAC
You can get Virtaal from the homepage here.


2. ApSIC Xbench

ApSIC's Xbench is actually a commercial software used for terminology management and quality checks for translations. It supports a whole lot of formats, TBX being one of them. The software is pretty expensive but they do offer a last freeware version with some limitations:
  • its non-Unicode so it doesn't handle characters internally that are in Unicode. The developer advises users to set your system locale to fit the languages you're working with to avoid character corruption. 
  • the "freeware license” is only valid to those working as a freelance translator, an employee at a translation agency or an in-house translator at an end client. So basically, for personal use.
This and more info can be found in the FAQ here.

Compared to Virtaal, Xbench seems to provide more functionality and even displays the definition. For that reason I prefer it over Virtaal.

Tip: To load the TBX file in XBench you'll have to create a New Project first followed by adding the TBX format (TBX/MARTIF) into the Glossary list.
xbench
Using Microsoft's TBX (En-US - SW)  in ApSIC Xbench

If you've trouble loading the file in the program, leave me a comment and I'll get to you as soon as I can.

Supports: Windows only (Microsoft Windows 2003, 2008, XP, Vista, or 7)
You can get Xbench from the developer’s site here.


3. OmegaT

Another free open source software here with multi-platform support. It supports multiple formats including TBX format and has plenty of helpful translation features e.g. loading external files (docx, .xlsx, .pptx *.txt etc.) for translation, Unicode (UTF-8) support, interface to Google Translate etc.
The downside though is that it may not be as straightforward to use as compared to some of the other apps here, at least it wasn't for me. Fortunately, there's an offline manual that should cover most questions.

Tip: You'll have to load a file for translation for you to use the glossary (i.e the TBX file). To do that:
  • Create Project >> Select the language pair in the TBX file e.g. EN-US and SW >> Add an external file that you need to translate e.g. a text file with the words >> Go to the project folder and copy the TMX file inside the Glossary folder >> Reload the project from the Project menu
  • After doing this, you can also search the TBX file using Ctrl + F.

omegat
Translating a TXT file using Microsoft's TBX (En-US - SW)  in OMegaT

If you've trouble loading the file, just leave me a comment and I'll get to you as soon as I can.

Supports: Windows, Linux, Mac OSX, FreeBSD and Solaris
Requires: Java Runtime Environment (JRE) to be installed. If you don't have JRE installed, there's a version that bundles the JRE together with the software.

You can get OmegaT from their homepage here.



4. MS Office

I realize this is not exactly free software but chances are that you use it and have it installed. If that's the case, you can use either Ms-Excel or MS-word to a certain extent since they support the XML format. To get you started, just change the extension of the *.tbx file to *.xml.

Note: I can't guarantee this will work in all versions of Word or Excel as I've only tested this in Office 2013.

a. Ms Excel
Open the file in Excel as an XML table. Excel will open the data as a table with all the fields including definitions. To translate between terms, just highlight the term column then use Ctrl + F to search for terms and their translated equivalents.
excel
Microsoft TBX (En-US - SW)  in Excel 2013


b. Ms Word
Just like in Excel open the TBX file as an XML file in MS Word, and it will open the data in a readable format with just the terms and definitions. You can also use Word for translating by quickly finding terms using Ctrl +F but it may take some time due the fact that the definitions are displayed.
word
Microsoft TBX (En-US - SW)  in Word 2013


I've only tested the following applications using the TBX files from Microsoft's Term collection. I therefore cannot guarantee that they will work with any TBX file out there. If they adhere to the standard's guidelines I presume they'll wok just fine.


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