One of the biggest challenges for international brands is to translate and manage content across multilingual markets, which - when done well - helps them increase their global market share.
As such, translation management systems were born to address the need to localize content more effectively and efficiently.
One might argue that localization management software isn't necessary because English remains a prominent language of global business. However, our recent deep dive into current translation industry trends found that 75% of consumers from non-English speaking populations prefer to buy products in their native language.
With that in mind, let's explore the benefits of translation management systems from a business perspective, and the key factors you should consider when choosing one.
- What is a translation management system (TMS)?
- What are the benefits of translation management systems?
- Which is the right TMS for my business?
- Is it difficult to start learning and using a TMS?
What is a Translation Management System?
Translation management systems (TMS) are software solutions designed to help cross-border companies easily implement, automate, and manage their translation projects — whether they do it with in-house teams or external vendors.
To learn more, check out our 101 guide on translation management systems.
While it's entirely possible to execute localization projects without the use of a TMS, the traditional way is generally more costly, time-consuming, and over-reliant on manual work.
Translation Management System Benefits
So why make the switch to translation management software? You may have colleagues who are reluctant to embrace TMS-based workflow for different reasons.
Consider these advantages that the whole team can enjoy when using translation management software.
1. Translate different content types easily
You can upload and translate different file formats directly on your translation management software. And it's usually more than enough to cover the variety of documents you might encounter in your work.
Not all of your content will be produced and delivered in a Word document. Some could be InDesign files while others could be PowerPoint presentations. Or it could be a website.
Without a TMS, there will always be an extra step of extracting the text manually from the source file and putting everything neatly into a spreadsheet for the translator.
Apart from being time-consuming, the person in charge of extracting the text may also be unfamiliar with the software used to create the original file. This likely means having to add yet another intervening step to your workflow.
Having a TMS essentially eliminates the need of having to figure out how to convert content into plain text for translation. It automatically analyzes and compiles phrases and sentences from your source file into a list so that you may start translating them immediately.
Already know what file types you'll be working with? Here are some guides we've written on how to translate:
2. Jumpstart the translation of both simple and complex content
Sometimes your content is simple and straightforward. Sometimes not so much. In both scenarios, translation management systems provide tools that make it easier to make progress.
Translation in itself is an intensive task. While translating, your translator could be simultaneously thinking about grammar, context, cultural references, and so on.
That's why most TMS are built with two very important tools that are primarily used in the translation stage.
- Translation memories - so you can auto-replace strings that you have translated before to save time and maintain branding consistency. While in translation mode, your TMS rates the percentage of similarity between past and new content and allows the translator to make the final judgment on what the translation should be.
- Machine translation - so you can receive translation suggestions when you're faced with a particularly difficult or complex sentence and need a little "inspiration."
Some TMS like Redokun comes with a Pre-Translate feature, where you can translate entire documents using both technologies above. With this, translators in your localization team can prioritize their efforts on ensuring the translation is correct.
In other words, you'll never need to start from zero.
3. Streamline collaboration for internal and external teams
Each company has its own way of doing translations. Some may have their own in-house team, whereas others would outsource their projects to a partner or agency.
This means that you'll likely have different team members working on separate projects, especially when your company works with multiple language pairs and content types.
The diversity of people involved in localization creates a big challenge in project and team management.
A TMS acts as a centralized platform where project managers can oversee and conduct all translation projects while team members can work together on shared projects.
To contextualize, this means being able to:
- Share documents easily with the relevant parties, whether they are internal or external
- Have full transparency on the progress of every project
- Deliver project updates, comments, and questions quickly
- Ensure everyone has the right version of a document after multiple revisions
- Receive notifications about completed translations
4. Establish a quick and easy revision process
Content creation is a complicated thing.
Even when translations are in progress, your content team may work in some new ideas or changes to a document. Or there could be a typo they missed in the earlier stages.
The challenge then is to update your translators - some of whom may already have begun translating the document - about the changes and send them the latest file.
With certain translation management systems, uploading a revised document may render all progress lost. Otherwise, the translators would have to manually transfer their completed work into the new file.
To create a more intuitive revision process, some TMS like Redokun automatically updates your translators and their translation workspaces (provided that they translate using the TMS editor) whenever you change the source file.
This means that they won't lose any progress on their translations. Only the newly added segments will be added to their list of strings to translate, which will be highlighted for their further action.
5. Save time and money spent on translation
At the end of the day, translation management systems are designed to help businesses optimize their workflow and subsequently their resources.
Localizing a piece of content is a journey. Each benefit I've listed above gives your team a small boost and brings you closer to the destination: delivering the content to market.
How do they manifest in your workflow? It's when you notice that your team is:
- spending less time on tedious and unnecessary processes
- able to prioritize the translation of new content rather than repetitive ones
- translating faster while maintaining the level of quality
- communicating more clearly and quickly with each other
- increasing their time to market steadily
Altogether, the benefits of TMS form a vehicle that drives you to your destination much faster. Why walk there when you have a car?
In fact, one of the latest translation software statistics shows that you can potentially reduce project length and cut costs by 90% by using the right tool.
Which is the right translation management system for me?
When choosing a translation management system, it's important to understand your team's requirements in a few areas. You need a tool that addresses the issues in your current workflow - not the "best" tool on the market with all the bells and whistles that you may not even use.
Here are some factors to keep in mind when choosing a system:
- Cloud vs. desktop TMS
- Number of translators or team members involved
- Ease of use
- Method of translation
- Supported file formats
- Type of technical support provided
If you'd like to learn more, here is an article we've written with detailed guidance on how to choose the perfect translation management system.
Is it difficult to start learning and using a TMS?
Some companies refrain from adopting a TMS because they're afraid their teams might lose momentum trying to learn how actually use the software.
In many cases, they would be right. A translation management system has technical aspects to it for sure. And they could be too much too soon for your team members... but only if you're using the wrong software.
Looking for a simple translation management system that feels natural to use and requires little training to understand? Then, you could consider software like Redokun, which is designed with the end-users in mind.
Having gone through the key translation management system benefits, it's clear that this technology is becoming essential to localization initiatives for international companies.
If you're open to explore your options, click here to kickstart your free trial of Redokun today and transform your team's localization journey.