What Is a Translation Management System (TMS)?

Translation Management System

A translation management system (TMS) is a project management application that can automate and streamline various aspects of your localization workflow. A typical TMS supports complex translation projects and eliminates the repetitive and laborious manual tasks typically involved in language translation.

Localization projects often involve large groups of people, including team members who may be located in more than one country or time zone. A TMS can help everyone work together more effectively, improving translation quality and scalability while reducing time to market.

Five Key Functions of a Translation Management Platform

1. Managing Workflow

The first way in which translation management software can make your translation process more efficient is by helping you oversee your workflow in real time. With the best translation management systems, you’ll spend far less time managing documents, automating processes, and facilitating communication between team members.

Do you use a content management system (CMS) to publish material to your website or app? If so, a TMS will automatically grab new content and assign it to appropriate translators. This is just one example of how these applications can optimize a typical translation workflow.

Your translation management system should also integrate with any other applications your organization relies on. If you use tools like Figma, Adobe XD, or Sketch, for example, those should connect directly to your TMS for seamless content design in different languages. Integrations with collaboration apps like Slack can also go a long way toward removing barriers between team members.

2. Managing Memory

Another critical function of a TMS is maintaining a database of previously translated words and phrases. This is known as translation memory. Instead of coming up with new wording each time, you’ll be able to reuse words and phrases from your repositories.

When a translator encounters content that has been localized by your team before, they’ll be able to see suggestions based on past translations. Think of it like an autofill function that learns more every time you translate a new word, phrase, or sentence.

Translation memory can help you minimize the time spent on each translation. It will also improve your quality assurance by avoiding inconsistencies between different translations. A TMS maintains these memories centrally ensuring a streamlined process.

3. Managing Terminology

If you’re translating brand-related content at scale, there’s no reason to have your team work out a completely fresh translation over time. It’s critical to approach branding in other languages as a form of localization rather than mere translation. You should be aiming for cohesive style in other languages just as you expect in your English-language content.

Similar to translation memory, a terminology database retains translations of branding and associated terms. Terminology management ensures consistency in translated content across different countries, regions, and languages, particularly when expanding to new markets.

4. Managing Reporting

As with other business processes, efficient localization management is only possible with strong reporting practices. You and other stakeholders need to know how much work has been completed, how much it cost you, and how those figures compare to your initial estimates.

With a TMS, all translation tasks are performed and overseen within a single system—no more email chains and Excel spreadsheets. That makes it much easier to collect the relevant data and extract the most important insights for business management.

You should have just as much information about your localization efforts as you do about any other campaigns. A strong translation management system will make it easy to see where your money is going and whether it’s paying off in terms of revenue and engagement.

5. Managing Integrated Machine Translation

A good TMS will come with an application program interface (API) to connect to machine translation engines. Even if you don’t want to rely on machine translations entirely, computer-assisted translation tools can help your translators come up with more accurate translations in a fraction of the time.

With API access, your development team will be able to integrate your projects into your translation management system and fully leverage the platform’s capabilities. Your TMS should also integrate with the GitHub repository. The more integrations a provider offers, the easier it will be to utilize their application within your existing workflow.

Translation Management Systems Continue to Evolve

The rise of translation management systems has changed how businesses approach marketing on a global scale. With a more flexible and scalable translation workflow, companies can spend more of their resources refining the quality of their translations.

Here are a few key current trends and emerging technologies pushing contemporary translation services into the future.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence, or AI, is one of the most important technologies involved in translation. Neural machine translation has only been considered a mainstream approach for a few years, but it has already had a transformative impact on translation strategies. Like other neural network-based solutions, NMT tools continue to learn and refine their approach with each new input.

Google has been a leader in neural machine translation since the release of its NMT platform in 2016. A contemporary study found that Google Neural Machine Translation “reduces translation errors by an average of 60% compared to Google’s phrase-based production system.”

Audiovisual Translations

Translating from text to text is one thing, but translating audiovisual content can be far more complicated. Current translation management systems facilitate the localization of all types of content.

Audiovisual translation could include subtitles, dubbing, or other methods such as a translator’s voice overlaid on top of the original. When targeting an audience with another language and culture, you need to consider a broader localization process that goes beyond the scope of basic text translation.

Increased Efficiency

Translation services are always trying to offer faster and more accurate translations. As technology continues to advance, machine translations will become more reliable. However, we’re still years away from machine translation tools that can fully replace the expertise of a skilled human translator.

While real-time translation would have seemed like science fiction just a few years ago, it’s now widely available through Skype and other consumer software. The Skype voice translator already offers real-time translation from eleven different languages and dialects: French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Japanese, American and British English, and Simplified and Traditional Chinese.

Cloud-Based Translation Platforms

Translation software depends on a database of corresponding words and phrases in different languages. Cloud technology enables users to leverage large amounts of storage without investing in on-premises infrastructure.

As mentioned above, cloud translation isn’t taking the place of human translators anytime soon. However, a cloud-based database working alongside a machine translation tool will make things much easier for your translation team.

Why Choose Localize as Your Translation Management System?

Localize is a TMS that takes translation to the highest level. Our 500-plus subscribers know that Localize is the best way to translate content smoothly and cost-effectively. Our platform makes it easy to integrate your expert translators into a fast-paced workflow. 

Furthermore, we offer built-in connectors to our language service provider partners Textmasters and Gengo. We also provide powerful tools to help your software developers tailor the platform to your unique processes. Visit our website to find out why Localize is the best TMS for your international business.

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