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Content parsing: strings, segments, and snippets

This article applies to Global Delivery Network, Application Resource File, Business Document, and CMS Connector project types.

Whenever Smartling captures content from your file, app, or website, the system parses it into small, discrete entities, making it easier to re-order a translation whether for formatting or linguistic reasons. There are three level of parsing: first strings, then segments, and finally snippets:

  • Strings - Smartling extracts strings from the captured content based on the paragraph markers found in your content. Those markers vary depending on the content or file type.
  • Segments - Strings are parsed into segments, defined by end of sentence punctuation markers, i.e. periods, semicolons, interrogation points.
  • Snippets - Segments are divided into snippets based on formatting, e.g. bold, italic, hyperlinks, etc. 


In the Translation Interface, Segments and snippets are translated individually.

  • In the following example, we are translating the different segments contained in a string:

  • Here the segment is divided into snippets: 

  • Each snippets gets it’s own target field: there a translation resource only enters the translation of whatever part of the segment is highlighted in blue, while smartling appends the formating found in the source content.



In most cases Smartling can’t allow it’s users to add target fields manually; content parsing is entirely based on underlying code, which means we can only allow translation resources to place text where there is text in the original. Adding a text field would mean disrupting the current layout of your content, or creating potential problems of content positioning and style by adding text in places where the original code has no text.

There are a few exceptions when the underlying HTML will allow for the insertion of target fields in the Translation Interface:

  • Your file is an HTML file that was uploaded as such onto Smartling
  • The string(s) captured are not enclosed in a block element (i.e. <p> or <div> tag).
  • The string(s) has a snippet outside its inline tag.

Please note that a target field cannot be added when:

  • There are no tags or styling elements in the string
  • The entire string is place within tags or styling elements
  • There is text outside of the tags/styling elements, but both sides of these elements already contain non-styled/tagged text.


If a string is split into multiple segments and you would prefer to translate it as a single block of text, click Merge all segments to edit the whole string as one segment.



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