ULG’s Language Solutions Blog

Four Capabilities Every Translation Management System Should Have


To be successful in the global marketplace, companies need to create marketing material in more than one language. And in order to create an effective globalization campaign, you need a Translation Management System (TMS) to host your localization projects.

TMSs manage translation projects and are usually purchased or developed by Language Service Providers (LSPs). A solid TMS lets you track and submit projects, allows real-time communication between clients and translators and has Computer Assisted Translation (CAT) tool capabilities. Having a project portal to host translation projects can streamline your processes and optimize your localization abilities.

Qualities that translation clients and vendors should look for in a TMS vary depending on need, but there are common traits that are beneficial to both. Before we lay out the characteristics of a strong TMS, let’s briefly delve into what this system does.

What is a TMS?

A TMS is the backbone of any localization project. This is where source and target files will be stored, shared and reviewed by linguists. At its heart, a TMS is a digital platform where every aspect of a translation project is managed.

Project management, LSP/client collaboration and the ability to automate tasks are all pieces of a TMS, which is usually a web- or software-based portal. These systems should be able to easily integrate with different Content Management Systems (CMSs) to meet client need.

With that said, every TMS worth its salt should be equipped with the following capabilities.

Strong Reporting

One of the main benefits of a TMS is its project reporting capabilities. A web-based portal usually allows LSPs to give clients updates on project status and accept assignments over the web.

At the same time, this translation technology allows you to keep track of source files and original documents throughout the scope of a project. More visibility is a plus for LSPs and clients.

A TMS with 24/7 reporting capabilities will most likely feature some automation features, too. The ability to generate reports on quality and project status makes for a great way to optimize relations between client and translation agencies.

Seamless Integration

Most clients work with an amalgam of different CMSs and file types. A good TMS is equipped with flexible third-party integration capabilities in order to connect with differing content systems.

Having Application Program Interface (API) or “connector” capacities means data can be easily transferred from a client to LSP or vice versa, making for an easy integration of files and content.

Clients should seek out LSPs that are “technology neutral,” meaning they don’t favor one CMS over another.

Built-in MT

Machine Translation (MT) has become a huge part of the translation industry. Although it shouldn’t be used without the help of a human editor, MT is a great way to decipher large amounts of text in a short period of time.

Having a TMS with MT capabilities is a must. The function is a great way to quickly translate documents that will be used For Informational Purposes Only (FIPO) or those that won’t be published externally. MT is an effective option in verticals where turnaround time is important.

Terminology Management

Automation makes the translation process easier on everyone involved. For that reason, a TMS with terminology management tools like Translation Memories (TMs) and glossaries is a welcome asset. TMs and glossaries are databases of text segments and terminology that help keep content consistent and save clients money.

If clients already have a translation memory they’ve used, they should seek out a TMS that has the ability to easily transfer that data for future projects. TMs keep track of text that has already been translated in past projects, and 100 percent segment matches are usually charged at a lower price by translation companies.

Utilizing terminology management technology ensures client product names, trademarked terminology and localization techniques maintain consistency throughout a project.

The Upshot

A TMS is the foundation of any translation project, and an effective one provides the ability to automate tasks and make collaboration between LSPs and clients easy. Make sure your connectivity, reporting and technology needs are met when considering which system to use.

At the heart of a successful translation project is strong linguists, but if translators, project managers and clients don’t have the necessary tools to work together, the process becomes much harder than it has to.