The dream of building a multi-lingual South Africa has come one step closer to fruition with the start of a software development project, organised by, and based on ISO document standards.

The aim of the project is to develop software that converts documents in the OpenDocument format (ODF) into XLIFF, a standard used by translators to share and exchange translations. This expands the existing translation management tools already developed by
Dwayne Bailey, MD of, says: “This software will allow us to support the South African government's drive to open standards, and to help translators, not only in South Africa but across the globe, to work more quickly and with higher accuracy.”
The OpenDocument Format is an ISO standard for information exchange of office documents. It has been approved as an SABS standard and was adopted by the South African government at the end of October last year. ODF allows for the exchange of documents without a loss of fidelity regardless of the applications used. This ensures that users' documents and technology choices are future proof.
With the conversion of the ODF document into the XLIFF format, a human translator can work more effectively. The translator is able to perform his translation work in any specialised translation tool that reads XLIFF and is not limited by the program in which the original document was created. This leads to increased translation quality and speed, which benefits both the translator and the customer.
The work for this project was made possible by a grant from the NLnet Foundation, a Netherlands-based donor organisation focused on open standards and Open Source software. will collaborate with Itaapy – a French based organisation focused on Content Management Solutions. All software created will be released as Open Source software.