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Android XML

How does Phrase work with Android XML and what to do prior to translation?

File Extensions .xml
API Extension       xml
Import     Yes
Export   Yes
Pluralization support   Yes
Descriptions support Yes
Format Options convert_placeholder, escape_linebreaks, unescape_linebreaks, enclose_in_cdata, indent_size, indent_style

Android XML is an Android-specific XML variation that can be used to load translated content into Android Apps. Its root element is a <resources> with numerous <string> elements nested under it that store strings pending translation. You may use Android Studio to generate these resource files and use Phrase to manage the translation.

Note: Phrase provides a more centralized way of managing Android XML files. Android Studio uses the property “translatable” to indicate whether the content needs to be translated. In Phrase, this property is ignored. There is no need to push these strings to Phrase. 

Code Sample

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
    <string name="boolean_key">--- true
    <string name="empty_string_translation"/>
    <!-- This is the beautiful description for this key! -->
    <string name="key_with_description">Check it out! This key has a description! (At least in some formats)</string>
    <string name="key_with_line-break">This translations contains
a line-break.</string>
    <string name="nested.deeply.key">Hey, this key is nested even deeper.</string>
    <string name="nested.key">This key is nested inside a namespace.</string>
    <string name="null_translation"/>
    <plurals name="pluralized_key">
        <item quantity="one">Only one pluralization found.</item>
        <item quantity="other">Hey, you have %s pluralizations!</item>
        <item quantity="zero">You have no pluralization.</item>
    <string-array name="sample_collection">
        <item>first item</item>
        <item>second item</item>
        <item>third item</item>
    <string name="simple_key">Just a  key with a message.</string>
    <string name="unverified_key">This translation is not yet verified and waits for it. (In some formats we also export this status)</string>

Format Options    

Convert Placeholder

Identifier convert_placeholder
Type boolean  
Upload No        
Download Yes    
Default false    
Placeholder will be converted to match format specific requirements. Example: '$s' => '$@'

Escape line breaks

Identifier escape_linebreaks
Type boolean  
Upload No        
Download Yes    
Default false    
Description All line breaks will be escaped as '\n'

Unescape linebreaks

Identifier unescape_linebreaks
Type boolean  
Upload Yes
Download No 
Default false    
Description All \n will be imported as true newlines

Enclose in CDATA

Identifier enclose_in_cdata
Type boolean  
Upload No
Download Yes
Default false    
Description Encloses translations containing HTML tags in CDATA

Indent size

Identifier indent_size
Type integer
Upload No
Download Yes
Description Specifies number of indentation characters

Indent style

Identifier indent_style
Type string
Upload No
Download Yes
Default space
Description Specifies indentation character. Allowed values are space  and tab.


I can not use placeholders in formatted text

To format text containing placeholders like “Hello <b>%1$s</b>”, you have two options.

1. Escape the HTML in Phrase

2. Escape the HTML in your code.

Set the text of the view like this to do it in the code, 

SpannedString rawText = new SpannedString(getResources().getText(R.string.my_text));
String formattedString = String.format(Html.toHtml(rawText), "Jack");
SpannedString formattedText = new SpannedString(Html.fromHtml(formattedString));

Which would result in the output “Hello Jack!”

Using a colorcode (#ff0000) in my font tag causes the text not to show

Escape the HTML in the string or use a method similar to the one above.

SpannedString rawText = new SpannedString(getResources().getText(R.string.my_text));
SpannedString text = new SpannedString(Html.fromHtml(Html.toHtml(rawText)));

Why is the ‘translatable=false’ tag ignored in Phrase?

The translatable=false attribute on the <string> element is not evaluated and persisted in Phrase. However if a string should not be translated, you can define all your non-translatable strings in a seperate resource file, for example donottranslate.xml. Since these strings should never be translated, there is no need to push this file to Phrase. More information can be found here.

How to escape your HTML in Phrase and use it

  1. Escape the HTML in Phrase (replace < with &lt; and > with &gt;)
    • Hello &lt;b&gt;World&lt;/b&gt;!
  2. Use the translation center or the API Client to download your translations.
  3. Set the text in Java like so:
    • String rawString = getResources().getString(R.string.my_text);
      SpannedString text = new SpannedString(Html.fromHtml(rawString));
  4. The output should be “Hello World!”

    My HTML tags are not displayed when setting the text via view.setText

    Set the text of the view with the following

    SpannedString text = new SpannedString(getResources().getText(R.string.my_text));

    How to share translations between iOS and Android

    Keep the following in mind when sharing translations between iOS and Android:

    1. Use simple key names with no special characters and without white spaces - use underscores or hyphens instead. Most of the special characters are not supported in Android resource files. Rather than using the generated key names from Xcode like RMx-3f-FxP.title, use descriptive key names like ‘myniceapp_title’. This also makes them more readable.
    2. Avoid using CDATA tags because they are difficult to handle in iOS and can be avoided by correctly escaping the strings in most cases.
    3. Activate the “Escape line breaks” format option when exporting for Android to get an identical output on both platforms.

    More Information