Translation management systems or TMS as they are better known, help streamline the work of language teams by automating and tracking the entire translation process. TMSs help handle the repetitive tasks of moving content in and out of content repositories, such as content management systems (CMS) or marketing automation systems, and channeling it directly to key project stakeholders, including the translation teams, engineers, reviewers and client.
Once the translation process is complete, content can be moved on by any number of steps depending on chosen workflows - which could involve, editing, linguistic review, client review or other localization process steps such as digital publishing or LQA.
3 Core Components of a TMS
A TMS manages the process, which typically includes three parts: workflow automation tools, project management tools, and computer-assisted translation.
Workflow automation tools save time by reducing the amount of manual work in translations. One type of automation tool is artificial intelligence. The AI tool can quickly compile a list of the best and most experienced linguists for the job to allow the project manager to choose one efficiently. It can also recognize certain aspects of the content that is non-translatable such as postal codes, people, product names, and email addresses, and automatically scores these to save linguist's time. It also can identify and separate which content is best suited to machine translation and which needs the 100% human touch. Finally, if suited to MT, the AI tool will choose the best machine translation engine for the task, such as AWS Amazon Translate, Microsoft Translator, DeepL or Google Translate (yes, you heard it).
These tools will send content to translators, track progress, and manage bottlenecks. It connects to content management systems, source code repositories, marketing automation platforms, and other third-party systems.
Translation tools, also known as CAT tools (computer-aided translation), enhance the productivity and consistency of translators. They usually include several component technologies in a single integrated workbench, such as document editors, termbase, and translation memory. This part of the system consists of a database of sentences or text that allows their translations to automatically reused when translating the same content again. The database also may include industry-specific phrases in the form of a termbase.
Why Use a TMS?
A TMS helps all the moving parts of a translation project to fit together smoothly. It operates much more efficiently than spreadsheets or sending files back and forth through email or other project management forms. The entire team can work directly on the platform so that collaboration is enhanced.
A good TMS will enable the translation of documents and websites and translate all the interactions a business might have with the customer, such as customer service emails and social media content, all of which may have their own workflow depending on the quality expectation or turnaround requirements of the content.
Because a TMS improves the efficiency of localization in terms of speed and content leveraging, companies can expect to save money on translations with a TMS.
How Does a TMS Work?
A TMS interface exists in the cloud or on a local server. A business enters a translation request in a portal that provides access to various vendors such as linguists. The system also will route the translation through the CAT tool, which has memorized style sheets, industry terms, and dictionaries. The system will also route the translation to an in-country reviewer who will have fewer issues to fix when receiving the translation than they would without a TMS that stored style sheets.
What are the Benefits of a TMS?
A TMS has several key benefits:
- Translation memory decreases translation costs. Translation memories are databases of texts that the TMS automatically reuses for similar or identical content. These databases provide cost savings because the same content does not need to be translated over and over again. These translation memories also keep translation quality consistent.
- Automation boosts productivity and revenue. TMSs offer different levels of automation; some can automate the entire process. All offer the ability to eliminate manual tasks such as assigning jobs to vendors and email notifications. Some provide templates for price lists, and translations requests. TMSs also offer computer assisted translation or machine translation and provide integrations for various machine translation engines.
- TMSs integrate well with other systems, such as customer management software or design software. This integration allows for more cost savings and higher productivity.
Cloud-based TMSs offer additional benefits over those that are hosted on the premises. These include:
- Cloud-based TMS solutions lower costs. They avoid the setup and maintenance costs associated with on-premises solutions. They also offer flexible subscriptions that can allow for scaling up or down depending upon needs.
- They also keep data secure through high-standard security protocols without the need for an in-house IT department at the company. Typical security measures include data encryption and routine backups.
- Users can access their accounts at any time from any place with an Internet connection.
A TMS is an important part of an international growth strategy. The key is finding one that best meets your company's needs. For many companies, a system that allows for a fully automated process and blends traditional translation technology with artificial intelligence is a good place to start your search.