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Convert SDLTM and SDLTB without Studio or MultiTerm

This video shows how to convert files in the SDLTM (translation memories used by SDL Trados Studio) and SDLTB (term bases created by SDL MultiTerm) formats to TMX (for translation memories) and CSV (for termbases), without having to use SDL Trados Studio or SDL MultiTerm. The converter (WfConverter) is written by Jean-Philippe Odent and it can be downloaded from the Wordfast site. It also converts Wordfast translation memories to TMX, and vice-versa.

A third-party DLL (not included with the converter) must be copied to the same folder as WfConverter.exe, unless SQLite is already installed on your computer.

WfConverter is an alternative to Thomas van Nellen’s script for SDLTM files and to Gerhard Kordmann’s GlossaryConverter for SDLTB files. Because it is a compiled program, WfConverter is much faster than the script. Unlike GlossaryConverter, it works even if MultiTerm is not installed on your computer.

Download links:
WfConverter: http://wordfast.net/zip/WfConverter.zip
Required DLL: http://sqlite.org/download.html (file to download: sqlite-dll-win32-x86-*.zip)

Related videos:
Convert SDLTM from SDL Trados Studio to TMX without Studio
Convert SDLTB to Excel with GlossaryConverter plugin

65 comments to Convert SDLTM and SDLTB without Studio or MultiTerm

  • Karoline

    Excellent and just what I’ve been looking for – thanks for posting!

  • Tim

    Thank you very much indeed for this very useful blog entry!


  • Martijne

    Hi, I have a question, I do everything as in the video, but if I press start it stays on 0% and when I want to load the TMX in Wordfast, it says that there are no right TU.

    What can I do?


    • Dominique

      Hi Martijne,

      Try opening the TMX in a text editor (eg. Notepad): what does it look like? If it’s empty, you could try to send a copy of the .sdltm to the author of the converter (his address is listed inside the converter). He only had access to a very small and limited .sdltm when writing the converter, so there could be room for improvement.



  • Alma

    Thank you very much Dominique and Jean-Philippe! Just what I needed!

  • Adam

    This is a great tool in theory but I advise some caution. I ran a test converting the same SDLTM files using Trados Studio and WfConverter and noticed that the leverage for the WfConverter TMX was quite lower. Checking the TMX files i found that some inline tags were interpreted as breaking tags. I will send an email to the author about this and I hope he can adjust this, as the tool is really great in all its simplicity!

  • Très clairement expliqué et documenté. Merci beaucoup pour ces informations.

  • Viktor

    It’s very interesting, thank you Dominique. But I can not find your “Translate SDLXliff files in memoQ” that you mention at the end of your (video) presentation.

    • Dominique

      Hi Victor! It happens quite a lot: I have an idea about a next video, but I then decide to do something else ;-). Actually, I think you will find good information about translating SDLXLIFF files on other blogs (eg. Kevin Lossner’s), on Kilgray’s knowledge base etc. And I believe translating an SDLXLIFF in memoQ isn’t that different from translating any other supported file type. Also: not a single client of mine is asking me to translate SDLXLIFF files or SDLPPX package (am I not a lucky guy!), so I have no real-life experience with them. Hope you can find the information you need!

  • Viktor

    OK Dominique, no problem, and thank you again.

  • Great info, it worked!!! Thanks so much for sharing.

  • Tuan Dzung

    Many thanks for video and download files.
    I tried to convert one sample file of Trados Studio 2011 (Sample.sdltb-3.36MB) with WfConverter but I only receive file Sample.csv of 25 bytes without any terms while converting (*.sldtm) is successful. Kindly advise.

    • Dominique

      MultiTerm termbases (.sdltb) are much more complex than Studio TM’s (.sdltm). The developer of WfConverter only had access to very limited termbases when writing the converter. You may want to contact him (his e-mail is displayed inside the program) and send him one of your .sdltb, so that he can make improvements to the program.

    • Jean-Philippe

      Send me an example file, which I fix.

  • Hello. The tool sounds great. I downloaded it and the DLL indicated in the clip. However, when I try to convert, I get an “unable to open database error”. Do you know why?

    Windows 7 SP1
    64-bit OS

    • Dominique

      Which type of database did you try to convert: a TM (.sdltm) or a termbase (.sdltb)? TM’s should be straightforward. However, termbases can be rather complex (depending on how it was created in MultiTerm). You may want to contact the author of the utility and send him the file that you cannot convert.

    • Jean-Philippe

      Send me an example file, which I fix.

  • I’ll follow your advice and send the file to the author.

    • Dominique

      You may also want to try an alternative way to do the conversion, for instance the VB script by Thomas van Nellen (mentioned in another post of mine) or CafeTran. Good luck!

  • I’ll look into it. Thanks for your assistance!

  • Roger Chadel

    Dominique, do you know how to do with SDLPPX files? AFAIK, they are an alternative to SDLXLIFF.

    • Dominique

      SDLPPX are not an alternative to SDLXLIFF, but rather a container (“package”) for them (and possibly also Studio TM’s and MultiTerme termbases). An SDLPPX is just a ZIP file, so you can change the extension from .sdlppx to .zip and you’ll be able to see the content. Some CAT tools (eg. memoQ) support SDLPPX directly, ie. they can open them directly, as you can see here. Other tools that support the SDLXLIFF file format can’t open SDLPPX packages directly; it’s the case of Wordfast Pro 3.2, for instance. If you are using Wordfast Pro 3.2 (or newer) and receive an SDLPPX that contains a bilingual file (SDLXLIFF), a TM (SDLTM) and a termbase (SDLTB), you’ll have to manually unpack it first (as explained above) and convert the TM and the termbase also manually, for instance with WfConverter (as explain in this blog post). Hope this clarifies the matter.

  • Mika

    Thanks for the great video. Works fine. I quess the xliff to tmx part is not ment to work?

  • Brandie Brunner

    This was extremely helpful. I’m delighted to be able to convert SDLTM files. I already tried it and it worked. However, I received this error when I tried to convert an SDLTB file:
    “Either BOF or EOF is True3, or the current record has been deleted. Requested operation requires a current record.” Thoughts?

    • Dominique

      MultiTerm termbases (SDLTB) have a more complex structure than Studio TM’s (SDLTM). The author of WfConverter only had very simple MultiTerm termbases at its disposal when he added support for them. You may want to contact him and send him the offending SDLTB file, so he could improve his tool. The contact information is displayed inside the program.

  • lucia


    I have been looking for it for a long time thanks for posting! Can you please send me a link from where I can download it?
    It is not available in SDL website anymore.
    Thank you in advance!

    • Dominique

      What do you want to download? The converter mentioned in the blog post is available on the Wordfast site, not the SDL one.

  • SafeTex


    Two attempts with the software gave a CSV document with around 700 entries but only around 40 translated phrases
    So I got someone to open the same .stltb file with Studio and he had translations for every entry
    Just for everyone’ info

  • SafeTex

    Hello Dominique and all

    Me again. Someone said to me on the MemoQ forum that you can open an sdltb file with Access and although I didn’t understand everything I could see in it, I was able to copy the source and target language columns into Excel easily and get a working TB for MemoQ in a minute.

    Perhaps the easiest and safest solution when you are in a tight corner.


  • Krys Williams

    This does not work at all. Although this software seems to see the sdltm file and knows I want tmx, when I click on “Start”, nothing happens.

    • Dominique

      Many people have been able to successfully convert .sdltm files with WfConverter. If this didn’t work with yours, you may want to contact the author of the converter.
      Some tools (eg. memoQ and CafeTran, maybe others as well) are now able to import .sdltm files, so you may want to consider one of them.

  • Astra


    I have now tried to follow these steps several times, but with no success.

    I downloaded both the WFconverter and the sqlite-dll-win32-x86-*.zip in the same folder, but when uploading a sdltm file to convert, I get an error message saying I need a DLL file, although I already have it?

    Any help please?

    I do not have Trados installed and I will be using WF Anywhere.

    • Dominique

      Did you actually unzip the sqLite zip file you downloaded? It’s not enough to have the zip in the same folder, you should have the dll: extract the dll out of the zip, and make sure it is in the same folder as WfConverter.

      As I wrote in a previous reply, you may want to contact the author of the converter if it’s still not working.

  • As mentioned by Dominique, CafeTran can easily open .sdltm files. Just click ‘Memory > Open memory…’ and select the file.

    Xbench can do it too.


  • RANmurthy

    There is another program offered by Vannelen Translation for conversion. It can be downloaded from http://www.vannellen.com/fortranslators.php, and I found it to be more effective because Wfconverter could not convert some of my files.

  • William Zhang


    My name is William Zhang. I am a native speaker of Chinese and I watch your videos regularly.

    I wonder if you are interested in releasing you videos in China by using Chinese platofrms.
    You know Chinese users can not watch youtube videos, while on the other hand, more and more translators in China fall in love with computer aided technology. So I think I can help I can help you to release your videos in China throguh Chinese platforms which will be more suitbale for Chinese translator to watch.
    If you are interested, please send me an email to me

    William Zhang

  • Federica

    Hello I managed to convert the sdltm into a txt file, but when I try to use the TM in my project I get the following message: Unable to establish TM connection properly. The following error occurred: Translation memory header is invalid

    • Dominique

      Since you converted the sdltm to txt, I assume it’s for use in Wordfast. If so, and if Wordfast did not accept the txt, you may want to convert the sdltm to tmx instead, and import the tmx into Wordfast.

  • pam

    But I got a “Syntax Error in FROM clause”….
    Could anyone help?

    • Dominique

      You will need to contact the author of WfConverter. Conversion of memory files (.sdltm) should be straightforward. Conversion of termbase files (.sdltb) is more tricky, as MultiTerm allows for creation of extremely complex termbases.

  • Véra

    Hi Dominique,
    That’s exactly what I am looking for :). However, when trying to download the Wfconverter I get a message saying “file with false identification” et the file is not downloaded. What can I do about it ?
    Thanks in advance for your kind help
    best regards

    • Dominique

      Hi Véra,
      It’s most likely caused by your anti-virus, which (falsely) detect WfConverter.exe as a suspicious program. I just checked and I was able to download the zip file, extract WfConverter.exe from it and run the program without problems. You’ll have to instruct your anti-virus to ignore the files in question.

  • Véra

    You’re right Dominique! It works great if I cut Avast on my computer.
    Thanks for your help

    • Dominique

      Glad to hear your problem is now sorted, and hopefully WfConverter will serve your needs! It is perfectly safe to use it, no matter what Avast says!

  • Josef Dengler

    Hi Dominique,

    I tried WfConverter with an SDLTB file and got the error “Either BOF or EOF is true or the actual dataset has been deleted. The called operation needs an actual dataset.”

    Any hints?
    Kind regards

  • Hi! I get an error message: “Could not retrieve data. Error [11]: The database disk image is malformed. “SELECT * FROM translation_units”: database disk image is malformed.”

    Do you have any idea of how I proceed with this? The size of the TM is 284 600 kB.

    Kind regards,

  • Okay, but the TM is really big and you said that this solution was more appropriate for big TMs. And by the way, the link to Van Nellens converter does not work, so I cannot find it. Could you please post an updated (working) link here in the commentary field?

    • Dominique

      Just google “van nellen sdltm” and this should point you to the page. It is on http://www.vannellen.com anyway.

    • Hi Elisabeth,
      I was having trouble finding the Van Nellen converter, as well, and it turns out the “Download” link is just a button on this page: http://www.vannellen.com/fortranslators.php

      It’s right above the “Frequently Asked Questions” section and very much hidden. I must have spent a good 10 minutes looking for how to download it.

      By the way, there is another advantage of Van Nellen’s converter: because it’s written in Java, it’s cross-platform. I downloaded the other two converters in this article only to find that they’re Windows executables and don’t run on my Mac (without a Windows virtual machine/Wine or something like that).


  • Bonjour Dominique, bonjour à tous,

    Je dois convertir un fichier sdltm pour Wordfast. Un grand merci pour la vidéo très claire. Malheureusement WFConverter affiche le message “Ce fichier est en lecture seule”. Puis-je faire quelque chose à mon niveau ou le client doit-il renvoyer un autre fichier ?

    Merci d’avance
    Bonne journée

  • Un grand merci, ça fonctionne !

  • Valeria

    I try to convert a file .sdlxliff in TMX with WordFast Converter but a window opens and says “Not Implemented yet”.
    I followed the video. And I converted some months ago successfully with the same steps…

    • Dominique

      If you need to convert an SDLXLIFF into TMX, your best bet is to import the SDLXLIFF into your favorite CAT tool that supports the format, send the translations to a new TM (I’m assuming the SDLXLIFF is a translated one, i.e. the target side has already been populated) and export that TM to TMX.

  • Cristina

    Just what I was looking for!


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