What is a Translation Management System?

A Translation Management System, or TMS, is a software platform that helps organizations to better manage the localization process from start to finish by giving localization managers visibility yinto their entire translation pipeline. Modern enterprise TMS platforms also have advanced AI and automation features to save time and money.

What is a Translation Management System?

A Translation Management System, or TMS, is a software platform that helps organizations to better manage the localization process from start to finish by providing a set of tools that gives localization managers a full view of their entire translation pipeline. With a TMS, project managers can understand the current stage of each translation file and project, what individuals are assigned, what linguistic assets are being used, and then make changes where necessary and collaborate with translators and other teammates to ensure projects are delivered on time, everytime. A project manager can use a TMS to oversee projects and manage multiple systems, language assets, and teams to streamline the entire translation process.

Modern TMS platforms that are built for the enterprise also have advanced AI and automation features that can auto-assign translators based on skillset and availability, intelligently route files, and integrate via connectors and APIs to all of your critical business and IT systems. Together, enterprise TMS platforms use AI and automation to eliminate repetitive tasks, reducing complexity and the need for human intervention - which saves time, money, and hassle.

Who's it for?

In a broad sense, a TMS is for any company looking to localize or translate, but it's primarily used by localization teams and project managers. Depending on the size of your company and the intended use case, certain features may be more or less important to your team. For example, a larger enterprise company may focus more on the language automation and business reporting aspects to keep track of spend and efficiency, while a mid-sized company may focus more on project management features to help coordinate between internal and external teams to keep everyone aligned

However, there's no one-size-fits-all, and companies of all sizes use TMSs differently. But one thing is absolute: if you're looking to translate or localize, a TMS is a must.

Why do I need one?

Let’s take a look at one scenario. Company A has just started to think about localization for the first time but isn’t entirely sure where to start. Instead of opting to use a TMS, John from Company A decides to use his standard spreadsheets to track everything, while reaching out to translators by email every day.

Very quickly, John realizes that he’s in over his head. Tracking all of the translation projects that need to be accomplished becomes tiresome, keeping in touch with and ensuring quality from translators is unwieldy, and keeping up to date with language assets is impossible. Slowly but surely, projects get lost and deadlines get pushed, and his once-simple translation task has now become a burden.

In an office around the corner, XYZ, Inc. has been researching localization and has decided to invest in a TMS. Alice, the new team project manager, wants to make sure that everything stays simple and has found a tool that can help her keep on top of her projects.

Her new TMS allows her to easily keep an eye on deadlines and projects, while staying up to speed with both internal and external teams. As projects finish and new documents come in that need translation, everything is stored within her TMS for easy access and management.

On top of that, since XYZ, Inc. is constantly translating new documents on a consistent basis, her TMS’ translation memory (or TM) can provide reference points for translators through previously translated fragments and sentences. These TM matches, whether an exact match or fuzzy match, help translators work faster by using technology to recognize repeated words or phrases and automatically add in previously completed translation. All of this helps to automate and speed up the process, allowing her team to get through more projects, and quicker.

Keep in mind, every company’s needs are different. But using a TMS can help tremendously.

How does a TMS work?

At its core, a TMS introduces automation into a historically manual and time-consuming process. Automation is key - it helps to increase efficiency and speed while decreasing errors. As a result, it increases translation velocity and decreases turnaround time. After all, translation and localization are global processes. The more you can automate and have smart systems in place, the better your process will be.

A TMS breaks down into a few major components: workflow management, translation memory, content management integrations, file management, dashboards, reports, and more.

Workflow Management

Managing projects is arguably the most critical feature of a TMS, as it helps maintain organization and allow projects to flow through the once muddied and fragmented translation process.

Modern TMSs include categories, labels, and nesting capabilities to improve organization, keeping documents in the right place. Automated task assignment and built-in notifications also help translators and reviewers stay focused and eliminate the need for manual work.

Linguistic Asset Management

One of the biggest challenges for translators is maintaining a system of record for updates and changes to terminology and memory. If a change is made at one point in the process, it may need to be made again. A TMS can maintain terminologies, translation memories, glossaries, and more, keeping them up to date and helping speed up the translation process.

Reporting

Every company needs insights into their business to better project for future projects. Since all projects can be managed within a TMS, data can be integrated into other tools to build reports and dive deeper into business-critical information.

Connectors

Transferring content between systems can be a challenge, no matter the size of the company. Certain TMSs support integrations, whether through APIs or custom connectors, with content repositories. These could be tools like a CMS, knowledgebase, code repo, marketing automation platform, e-commerce platform, and more. This makes the translation process much more streamlined, as content can flow in and out of the TMS with ease.

Here are four reasons why a TMS will transform your business.

There are plenty of reasons why a TMS is important. But here are four critical business reasons why you should consider a TMS:

1. Automate Your Manual Work

Day to day, translators and project managers often complete similar tasks over and over again. Without automation in place, they can lose countless hours doing repetitive work that takes away from time better spent elsewhere. Projects no longer get stuck at specific stages, waiting for review or reassignment. A TMS can give time back to the people that matter most, getting projects across the finish line faster.

2. Track Projects

Don’t worry about losing track of a long list of projects that you’re managing. Easily file everything where it needs to be, see where things are in the pipeline, and follow up with relevant stakeholders. That way, you can keep yourself and your team on track.

3. Collaborate More Easily

75% of people want to buy products and services in their native languages. How do you reach them? By working with people around the world to help translate what you need. However, communication is easy to lose track of, and it can quickly become burdensome. Bringing translators, teams, and managers all together in one system helps to keep everyone aligned more easily than ever.

4. Eliminate Room for Error

If you’re tracking translation projects in a spreadsheet, it’s likely that things will be overlooked and tasks will fall through the cracks. With a TMS, it’s easier to see an audit log of what tasks have been completed and by whom, allowing you to work efficiently and effectively.

Everything works better, and a proper TMS is an all in one solution that makes a complex process less complicated. Faster, better, simpler, and more affordable, all in one place.