Translation Management System (TMS)

A translation management system (TMS) is software designed to facilitate complex translation tasks. It is an essential tool for implementing a global growth strategy in that it brings different team functions together to streamline translation and localization workflows across borders and timezones. That is why it is also known as a globalization management system.

What features does a translation management system offer?

On a general level, although there is a multitude of providers on the market, there are core features found in every translation management system:

  • Resource planning (including project, financial, and resource management),
  • Process management (workflow, collaboration, and content flow),
  • Linguistic management (including translation and review tools, glossaries, and translation memories).

The TMS is basically an all-in-one tool that combines separate translation tasks in one place. The ability to create and continuously update linguistic resources, such as glossaries or term bases and translation memories, to track time and costs, generate project reports, as well as automatically extract new content are key functions. All these render a TMS an indispensable tool for resource efficiency and cutting overhead costs.

There are other important features that are developing into new standards for translation management software, especially for cloud-based SaaS platforms:

  • Language pairs available,
  • In-context-translation,
  • Live previews,
  • Automated updates of timelines and costs,
  • Security features,
  • API integration,
  • CMS connectivity,
  • Automated quality assessment.

These new standards raise the bar for traditional providers and will soon be implemented on a larger scale as SaaS platforms find wide acceptance among translation and localization management teams.

What are the main benefits of a translation management system?

Translation management systems automate tasks for the user that can otherwise be quite time-consuming. A modern TMS based in the cloud takes it a step further, offering anytime, anywhere access, improved security, and enhanced collaboration tools. In addition, they largely eliminate version control issues as content moves among various users.

Traditional software solutions for translation project management require multiple software applications for various aspects of the translation workflow, slowing processes, and creating more opportunities for errors and omissions. The TMS provides an end-to-end platform for the entire translation and localization workflow in one working environment.

One of its major benefits is unified communication. With traditional processes, there can be multiple spreadsheets, different file formats, extraction of translatables and non-translatables, and hundreds of emails back and forth between the project manager, product manager, localization manager, translator, and reviewers. This can quickly turn into a nightmare. With the TMS, all communications are linked to each project at the relevant step in the process.

Translation management systems allow each user group to focus on their specific task. They also provide an overview and time frames for all of the tasks that are carried out by other users. The management of the translation itself turns into a smooth and transparent flow with easy oversight of every stage.

The ability to access previews of the translated content, as well as in-context translation, eliminates errors and confusion while offering project managers real-time tracking of each project. This results in faster turnaround times and cost savings, both critical factors when multiple languages are involved.

How can a translation management system help a business go global?

Relying on the strong linguistic resources within a TMS, e.g. translation memories, term bases, business-specific glossaries, and style guides, translators are able to sustainably improve the quality of the translated content. The business, on the other hand, can leverage the reuse of previously translated content while building their database of new translations for future needs.

These advantages mean faster project turnaround, faster time-to-market, more current releases in the case of software, and higher client satisfaction for language service providers. Scaling to multiple languages and vendors can be more easily managed and costs reduced substantially. Overall, the use of a modern TMS system unifies a number of complex workflows, improves communication, and helps minimize errors, resulting in a measurably improved return on investment (ROI).