Android XML

Information about how Transifex handles the Android XML (.xml) file format.

Written by Transifex
Updated today

File Extension(s)


i18n type(s)


Android uses an XML-based format for localization. There are three types of entries: string, string-array, and plurals.

Entry type: string

The first type of entry contains simple strings or sentences. Each entry in a resource must have a unique name attribute. This is represented as a single entry for translation in Transifex as well.

<string name="localization_manager">Localization Manager</string>
<string name="admin_users">Administrators are people that manage the organization.</string>
<string name="contribution">Become a translator or contribute to a Transifex project.</string>
<string name="updates">Keep me up to date with Transifex news</string>
<string name="live_status">Live status of Transifex service</string>
<string name="connect_with_users">Connect with users on Transifex</string>

In the editor, such a string will be displayed as follows:


Entry type: string-array

The string-array type also has a name attribute, which must be unique in a resource file. Each string array contains multiple items. These items are represented as a single translation entity in Transifex, so it is possible to have a different number of entries in a particular language.

So, the whole content of a string-array is shown for now, and the translator is responsible for creating a correct list of translated items. For example:

<resources> <string-array name="account_details_array"> <item>username</item> <item>Email address</item> <item>Full name</item> <item>Contact info</item> </string-array> </resources>

The above items in Transifex will have the following keys assigned:

  • username: account_details_array[0]

  • Email address: account_details_array[1]

  • Full name: account_details_array[2]

  • Contact info: account_details_array[3]

The above entry lists the details of an account in English. It should be translated into French as:

<resources> <string-array name="account_details_array"> <item>Nom d'utilisateur</item> <item>Adresse de courriel</item> <item>Nom complet</item> <item>L’information de contact</item> </string-array> </resources>

And into Russian as:

<resources> <string-array name="account_details_array"> <item>имя пользователя</item> <item>Адрес электронной почты</item> <item>Полное имя</item> <item>Контактная информация</item> </string-array> </resources>

Entry type: plurals

The last type of entry, plurals, also has an attribute name (which is required to be unique) and contains a list of items, each with an attribute quantity used to select the appropriate plural form of the string for a particular number of elements.

So, if your project's source language is, for example, English (2 plural forms), each pluralized entry has to include the following two plural forms:

<resources> <plurals name="minutes_count"> <item quantity="one">%s minute</item> <item quantity="other">%s minutes</item> </plurals> </resources>

In case you omit a plural form and try to upload the file to Transifex, the following error message will appear:


In case an additional plural form is included (except for "one" & "other"), then the following error message will be displayed after trying to upload the file to Transifex:


After translating the above string into another language, for example, Russian, the translation file after downloading it from Transifex will look like this:

<resources> <plurals name="minutes_count"> <item quantity="one">%s минута</item> <item quantity="few">%s минуты</item> <item quantity="many">%s минут</item> <item quantity="other">%s минут</item> </plurals> </resources>

📝Note: Do you want to find out more about plurals in Transifex? Please check here.


Any attributes in the string, string-array, and plural elements can be used.

Transifex will recognize, however, a specific attribute, translatable. When its value is false, Transifex will ignore the specific entry and not present it to translators in the web editor or in the files downloaded for offline translation. For instance, the following entry will not be translated:

<string name="name" translatable="false">Untranslated</string>

The product attribute is also recognized by the Transifex Android parser and can be used for entries where the same "name" attribute has been defined.


The parser will parse your content successfully without duplicate keys being an issue.

Escape behavior

1. Without escaping special characters in the source file


2. Special characters escaped in the source file

3. Strings enclosed in double quotes



📝Note: Transifex will always remove the double quotes that enclose the string (so that they will not be presented to the translator) and escape characters when a file is requested.

4. Other examples


HTML inline tags

The Transifex Android parser does not escape double or single quotes in the following HTML inline tags:

INLINE_TAGS = ("xliff:g", "a", "annotation", "b", "em", "i", "cite", "dfn", "big", "small", "font", "tt", "s", "strike", "del", "u", "sup", "sub", "ul", "li", "br", "div", "span", "p")

Developer comments

Transifex also supports developer comments in Android .xml files. A valid XML comment preceding any of the elements string, plurals, or string-array will appear as an instruction in the editor.

For instance, if your source file looks like this:

<resources> <!-- Type of entry: string --> <string name="localization_manager">Localization Manager</string> <!-- Type of entry: string-array --> <string-array name="account_details_array"> <item>username</item> <item>Email address</item> </string-array> <!-- Type of entry: plurals--> <plurals name="minutes_count"> <item quantity="one">%s minute</item> <item quantity="other">%s minutes</item> </plurals> </resources>

Your translators will find the above comments as instructions:


Download options

  • Download file to translate: Any untranslated entries will be returned empty so that translators can work just on the untranslated ones.

  • Download for use: All the entries that have not been translated yet won't be included in the file.

  • Download only reviewed translations: Only the reviewed entries will be included in the translation file. In case the Proofread step is enabled, only the translations that have been proofread will be exported instead.

  • Download for translation as XLIFF: The translation file will be generated in the .xliff format and include both translated and untranslated strings. The latter ones will be returned without containing target elements.

  • Download untranslated strings as XLIFF: The translation file will be generated in the .xliff format and include only the untranslated strings.

📝 Note: XLIFF support is only offered on the Growth plan and up.


In addition to the above Interface options, you can use the API or Client to download the translation files according to your localization needs.

  • For a more detailed description of the download modes, consult the table below:

📝 Note: Proofreading must be enabled for this logic to take effect. To learn how to enable proofreading, click here.

Default placeholders

These are the default placeholders that you could have in your file, and they will be recognized:

match: ['%1$s', '%(key1)s', '%s', '%d', '%.2f', '%-5d', '%+2d']

Additional Information


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