Dependency file not found

When you open a partly translated file to continue translating it, you may encounter the error message “Dependency file not found” with the question “Would you like to browse for this [i.e. the original] file?”.

What to do:

If you have the original source file, the simplest solution is to answer Yes to the question in the error message and locate the source file. But if you are working on a project package, you will normally not have any source files included. Here are two ways to proceed:

  • Close the project in Studio. Go to the project’s TM file (where all your translations so far are stored) and re-name it (or if you want to be really safe, copy it to another location). Open the original .sdlproj file again (i.e. re-create the project from scratch). Then change the project settings to use your “old” TM instead of the newly created one, and run the batch task Pre-translate Files. (Whatever you do, do not just re-open the project package without safeguarding your TM, since the TM which is generated will overwrite the existing TM with the same name and you will have lost all your work.)
  • Another method in both cases (project package or not) is to skip the source file matter and answer No to the question in the error message. You can then continue translating as usual, but you cannot Save Target As, Finalize, Generate Target Translations or Preview. What you can do, however, is make sure that the TM you produce is complete; i.e. does not contain any unconfirmed or un-translated segments.

Once you have done this, you can start from scratch using the TM you have just produced. Or, in case of a project package, follow the procedure described above.

There are other solutions, mostly to do with restoring the dependency files or repairing the .sdlxliff files, but to me they seem unnecessary complicated and not completely reliable.

Why this happens:

According to Knowledge Base #3897 (see below), a dependency file is created “when the original file is too large to be embedded in the .sdlxliff file”, and a ‘dependency file’ is then created which contains a link to the original file. The dependency file is stored as a temporary (.temp) file. However, some computer tune-up/diagnostics software will delete all .temp files unless they are instructed not to (you need to find out for yourself how to do that). It could also happen that the Windows hibernation function is the cause, in which case that particular energy option needs to be disabled.

Furthermore, you can adjust the Studio settings which control the file size leading to the creation of dependency files. Go to Files > Options > File Types > SDLXLIFF – General and move the ruler under “Embedding” to its maximum (100 MB). Why is the default value 20 MB, and will this change have any negative effects? I don’t know. (Thanks to Walter Blaser for pointing to this solution.)

There are two entries in the SDL Knowledge Base dealing with this problem:

Article 3897 (for project packages), and

Article 4731 (for a corrupted .sdlxliff file)

The latter describes (under Resolution) how to recreate the .sdlxliff file, which could be a useful option. It is, however, not primarily intended for the case when the dependency file is lost but when the .sdlxliff file for some reason is corrupted.

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13 Responses to “Dependency file not found”

  1. Adam says:

    Thanks for the very useful info Mats! I now have my max embedded file size set to 100mb – hopefully will never see the message again! (fyi my workaround was always to finish translating or revising, then upload everything to the TM, then create a new doc and pre-translate – always a danger of losing formatting but better than nothing).


  2. I came across this issue in a project with 132 files, where the biggest source XML file was 406 Kb big, so the file size wasn’t the root cause of the issue.

    Due to the big number of project files, opening them one by one and correct the path to the source file manually was out of question.

    I figured out a rather simple fix with the help of a regular expression and a grep tool (PowerGREP in my case):
    It is sufficient to replace the data in <external-file href=… with the path you find under <file original="…".

    Sample from an .sdlxliff file header:

    <external-file href="file://C:\Users\ah\AppData\Local\Temp\utfjaxht.ibi\wr5az2ef.hyn.xml"

    <external-file href="\\ITP\projects\Client\12-3456_Client_Project\en-GB\Source_file.xml"

  3. Stephen Fennell says:

    Thank you for the useful insights in this article! I had no idea that when the error message said it could not find a “dependency file” it really meant the original source file.
    I’m not a computer expert but I often suspect that Trados’s English documentation and user interface is a poor translation from some other language. Sometimes the suspicion is very strong indeed – there are times when the English can be understood if you move certain parts of the sentence to a different position. Words in the wrong position is the sort of thing that easily happens when a translator does not really understand what he is translating and just translates word for word, on the widespread but faulty assumption that that is a safe way to translate when you are not sure what the original author is talking about!

    • n. says:

      re. trados interface being translated from another language, it does bear some relation to reality, in the sense that several years ago trados, or parts of, were indeed coded (programmed, designed?) in a certain non-English speaking European country (a fact). Whether this legacy somehow lingers and is reflected in your observations, I can’t say, I haven’t noticed anything myself (not that I looked very hard, mind you! 🙂

  4. Stephen Fennell says:

    I am intensely thankful to you for this! I have the source file and was able to tell Trados where to find it. But your sentence “If you have the original source file, the simplest solution is to answer Yes to the question in the error message and locate the source file.” is not quite detailed enough: if you “answer Yes to the question in the error message”, Trados will open a window looking like File Explorer for you to browse in, BUT at the bottom of that window it names the file it expects you to find, and it is naming the temporary “dependency file”, and I think that dependency file has probably been deleted by my diagnostics software as I can’t find it for the life of me. So I took my courage in both hands and changed the filename in the little box at the bottom of this window. To my surprise it allowed me to do that – I just typed in the name of the source file; and lo and behold, I could now browse to that in that window, and click on it, and Trados quietly opened my file and allowed me to continue translating. It has now also allowed me to “Save Target As…”.
    I revile Trados when it slams the user with a heart-stopping, unintelligible error message. What a powerful relief to find someone like you who has taken the considerable trouble to write up how to solve the problem.

    • Mats Dannewitz Linder says:

      Thank you Stephen for this useful information!

    • Graciela Steinberg says:

      Dear Stephen

      I have the same problem, I’m trying to take the same courage… the source file, is the xliff, or the docx file?

      • Michael Medlinger says:

        The source file you need is the .docx file (or possibly one of the other formats). In any case, the original file found in the project folder.

    • n. says:

      Thank you VERY much for this tip, it is, by far, the simplest solution of all. As I use junk cleaning software on regular basis, I have stumbled upon this issue several times, even though the files I work on are no more than a couple of Mb, and I did change, as recommended, the max size to 100Mb.
      I have niw changed the suggested gibberish file name to the original (ST) file name, and browsed to the folder where it sits. Opens, saves target – brilliant! Why would SDL rely on external, and so volatile solution as a temp folder, beats me. I suppose it’s one of those “never happened!” cases, so it was overlooked.
      p.s. I don’t think it’s possible to change the default temp folder to the project folder BEFORE you actually start on a project. Oh well.

  5. Claudio R. says:

    Thanks for this. I ended up having to link every single one of my 147 project files because I couldn’t afford to lose the changes I had made to the locked segments.

  6. Zdzisław D. says:

    Thanks a lot for your advice. Just moving the ruler you described solved the problem – still it just puzzles me that Trados itself would not give a better hint than just “cannot locate the file” which was not exactly the problem, but the size of the files in the project (as it seems to me now) – anyway everything works well – no freezing of the alignment anymore or “dependency-file-not-found”.

  7. Catherine Hess says:

    Thank you for this life-saving advice! (At least, it feels like a life-saver as this is the morning this large project is due.) It’s many hours before the client will be in the office, and it appears that the “dependency file” has an address on their system … which, of course, I can’t access.

    I gathered all my courage and tried just plain answering “No” and things seem to be okay now, but you can bet I exported everything in the project to bilingual review files just in case the worst happens and I lose all my work.

    Some days Trados seems to take years off my life. Why do these things always happen when something is due soon? Anyway, thanks for the info.

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