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Making Tableau Translation Friendly

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This comes as a request from case #02449188.


I am a Technical Program Manager working for a major translation company.  I was just given the task to translate a 100 worksheet Tableau Workbook, and it has been one of the hardest technical project I have ever managed.  I am an expert on XML, and also a seasoned programmer in many programming languages, and it has been really difficult to translate the Workbook.  I did it, but it was with many hours of learning, trial and errors, redifining the translation tool DTD, etc.  With most companies thinking globally, this is a must for all software to be able to be easy localized, or its content translated, so an effort is needed to be able to help the customer translate their Tableau workbooks. 


A little history...

In at the end of October 2016, I received the Tableau workbook that came with some Excels workbooks which had the data that would end up being the report.  We tried translating the Excels, and after translation point the Tableau workbook to the Excels, and get the Workbook to display the translation.  This worked somewhat, but all the colors and formatting previously set to the English source, would be gone, and a totally different schema would be display.  This option would inherit a lot of formatting work to get it looking like the original English source, so, this option did not work.

Another problem was that the Excels had the data, but the explanations and various paragraphs of text were in the Tableau workbook itself.  Taking a look at the XML, doing a few searched, it was easy to create a DTD for the software we use for translation and translate the TWB file itself. The problem is that with so much repeated data, many of the short strings were not able to be defined, so I had to translate each of the aliases one alias at a time. This was a pain, but, at least, once you change an alias, it changes throughout the whole workbook.  That is a nice feature.  However, this should not be the way.


So, here is my suggestion:

The simplest way to translate the Workbook would be to able to export/import each visible alias on the report as an XML file.  You could keep the internal pieces as they are, all you have to do is to add a new export/import function on the file menu that would allow for this.  You should only export unique strings once.  This is because translation agencies will charge for repeated words, and Tableau internals should know where to replace these now translated "repeated" strings.  You could create internal spots, or SQL replace statements in the XML or, somewhere, but you will need to keep track of where those strings still be inserted again.


One more thing, there are a lot of repeated strings in the TWB file.  I think this bloats the file with repeated text and something can be done about it.  Just a suggestion. Thanks for your support.




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