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What Is A Translation Management System?

And how to choose the best one for your business.

Filip Smet

Updated on June 17, 2024

A Translation Management System (TMS) is any software tool designed to streamline the translation process and manage business translation projects from initiation to final delivery. 

Generally, a TMS will include features such as workflow management, a centralized repository, collaboration tools, integration capabilities, translation memory management (TM), automation, reporting and analytics, and quality assurance checks. 

A TMS differs from simple translation tools because it’s engineered to manage complex translation projects and handle every aspect of the translation workflow — saving businesses time and resources and accelerating time-to-market for localized products and services.

Key Features of a Translation Management System

Quality translation management systems will offer an integrated solution for managing resources, workflows, and collaboration among team members — and leveraging the right translation technology should propel your global expansion and improve your international communication strategies. 

Here are some key features of a cutting-edge TMS:

Automatic Translation and Processes: Offers AI technologies to expedite initial translation drafts and will detect and translate new content — providing an up-to-date user experience and expediting your workflows.

Collaboration Tools: A good TMS should have tools such as an In-Context Editor which allows you to directly customize your translation and store and reuse tailored translations across all languages.

Translation Memory and Terminology Management: Translation memory allows for the storage and reuse of past translations. Terminology management involves glossaries and termbases which allow you to control translations for critical terms, phrases, brands, and products. Both features ensure consistency and efficiency in your work.

Reporting and Analytics: State-of-the-art translation management systems will offer you analytics to help you track global site traffic and enable you to make data-driven decisions to optimize your strategy and enhance localization ROI.

Quality Assurance: Finally, a quality TMS should have ways of ensuring quality through built-in QA checks or other error detection and correction mechanisms. 

Benefits of Using a TMS

While every TMS should help speed up your processes and enable you to scale your business efficiently, a quality TMS can offer many other benefits for your business. 

A TMS can greatly enhance consistency and quality through translation memory and terminology management features, ensuring uniform use of terms and phrases across all documents. This consistency contributes to higher overall quality and satisfaction from end-users. 

Additionally, cost savings are realized as a result of improved efficiency and reduced need for manual oversight, which can help diminish the costs associated with corrections and revisions. TMS systems are inherently scalable, making them suitable for managing small and large projects, and accommodating an increasing volume of translation work without compromising performance. 

Centralized management of all translation processes—including project management, workflow automation, and quality assurance—ensures that projects are coordinated seamlessly from start to finish, providing a unified and reliable solution for translation needs.

How a TMS Works

A Translation Management System (TMS) streamlines the translation process through several workflow stages. The initial setup involves configuring the project parameters, importing source content, and assigning tasks to translators based on their expertise and availability. Once the setup is complete, the translation process begins, utilizing features such as translation memory, glossaries, and machine translation to speed up the work and ensure consistent terminology.

After this, the content should undergo review and quality assurance. This step ensures the translated material meets quality standards and may involve — depending on your TMS — multiple reviewers to catch any errors or inconsistencies. After the translations pass the quality checks, the final delivery phase involves exporting the completed work in the required formats and distributing it to the appropriate platforms or systems.

A good TMS can integrate seamlessly with other tools, enhancing its functionality and efficiency. Integration with Content Management Systems (CMS) enables automatic content extraction and re-uploading, which simplifies keeping multilingual websites up-to-date.

Connectivity with Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems ensures that translated communication materials such as emails, newsletters, and customer support content are accurately managed. 

Furthermore, marketing automation tools can be linked to the TMS to ensure that promotional materials and campaigns reach diverse audiences effectively, maintaining brand consistency across different languages and regions.

Some Translation Management Systems, such as GlobalLinkGo, offer no-code implementation, which allows you to swiftly translate through simple copy-and-paste actions without requiring IT involvement.

Choosing the Right TMS for Your Business

Using a TMS will guarantee benefits for your business, but how do you choose the right system? Here’s a few things to keep in mind when choosing the right TMS for your business

Size and Need

A good place to start is to assess your business size and needs. A smaller business might prioritize affordability and ease of use — so finding a system that offers a free trial ortiers in their subscription could be a good option.

Meanwhile, larger enterprises usually require advanced features and scalability to manage extensive projects across multiple departments. A TMS that offers nuanced services at the enterprise level is important for a larger business to consider. 

Supported languages and markets

It’s also crucial to consider your supported languages and markets. Ensure the TMS supports all the languages your business needs and can handle the particularities of the market you operate in, including regional dialects and industry-specific terminologies.

Budget Constraints 

Budget constraints are another important aspect to consider. Set a clear budget for your TMS investment and evaluate the cost-effectiveness of the solutions you’re considering. Look for a balance between functionality and cost, so as not to overspend on features you don’t need.

Finally, when evaluating a potential TMS, take advantage of free trials and demo versions. This allows you to test the system in a real-world scenario with your content and workflows. Engage your translation team in the trial to gather their feedback on user experience and efficiency. 

Also, consider scheduling walkthroughs or training sessions with the provider to fully understand the tool’s capabilities and support options. These steps will help you make an informed decision and choose a TMS that seamlessly integrates into your existing processes. 

Conclusion

The importance of a good Translation Management System cannot be overstated for businesses looking to grow their global markets. Not only does a TMS streamline translation and ensure consistency, efficiency, and quality across your multilingual content, but it will also save you money and time, and improve communication and collaboration between team members and vendors. 

Additionally, choosing the right TMS will directly affect your global success as a business — making it paramount that you carefully evaluate your needs, budget, and system’s capabilities so they align with your business objectives and market requirements. 

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About the author

Filip Smet

Filip Smet is a Product Manager for OLJS. Hailing from Belgium, he brings a blend of precision and creativity to his work. You can find him spinning his favorite records or honing his backhand on the tennis court when he’s not working.

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