The niche of translation management software is not saturated, and they’re all doing the same thing, no? So the choice of the software is relatively easy - I’ll just choose what I can afford or whatever I see first.
Believe it or not, more than 30 translation management systems already exist. They all offer various services, features, and possibilities suited for different types of businesses and needs.
That’s why we analyzed those currently available. We tried out and handpicked nine translation management software we evaluated and ranked.
While we did our best to be objective, we firmly believe that the best practice for choosing any product or service is knowing your own needs and possibilities. Be honest with yourself and your team, and choose the one that’ll serve you best.
We made a backstage comparison. We went through the trial period and used every translation tool for a few days. We’re entirely relying on reviews on Capterra, but we picked a little bit on G2 as well.
Please note that information about features and prices are taken from the available information on each company’s website. They’re changeable. We shared what’s there at the moment of the research, and we’ll give our best to update the article regularly, but keep in mind that automatic updates are not possible as we’re not connected to providers.
The main criterion for reaching the top nine list of translation management software was that the localization platform is actually making the process simpler for users. The following was that they’re offering everything you’d need while scaling your localization.
We analyzed if the translation software has the features that help the translation team in:
Project management like the visibility of tasks and assignees, the ability to assign tasks and follow the progress, etc.
Translation processes like translation memory, vocabulary to help with branding voice, some machine translation to help with translation, providing context for both translators and designers, and the ability to hire language service providers.
Usage and experience like seeing translation varieties and options inside the UX design, how fast one can adapt, and/or find something.
Development like the easiness of the implementation of the translation into the app, how many coding changes you need, and if they have over-the-air features for the fast update
We also considered different needs that a freelancer, small business, scaling startup, or big corporation may have, like team members, changeable string needs, roles, and access management.
Defining your localization team's size, the timeframe for the localization project and the budget you have for the software subscription should be your first steps.
Before looking into the offerings or our review, put on the paper
☞ How many people will work on the project
☞ How many projects will you have?
☞ Do you have recurring projects, or it’s just a one time
☞ How wordy is the content you need to be translated?
☞ How many strings you’ll need for the project? *
☞ What are the source/translated languages? Is it a platform that you're considering supporting them?
☞ Do you already have translators, or you’re hoping to hire them over the platform?
*Please note that strings are calculated differently in every translation management system.
For example, on some pricing pages, a string is a word or phrase in one language. It means that your source and translated strings are calculated separately. While on others, one calculated string is a word or a phrase in sourced and translated languages.
Just to illustrate it for better understanding.
If you have the word “dog” in English as a source language and want to translate it into French and Spanish, you’ll get a dog - le chien - el perro. In some TM software, this is three strings. In others, like Localizely, it’s one.
We went over more than 30 different translation project management software, and here are our impressions of the nine most impressive translation management tools.
Localizely stands out from its competitors because of its highly intuitive interface and how easy it is to incorporate it into your current workflow and within the software and platforms you already use.
Its pricing and feature ranges are highly customizable, with seven different plans. You can easily adapt the pricing plan for translation management software based on your needs - how big projects you’re running and how many simultaneously.
Localizely is perfect for teams of all sizes, but you don't need to be a part of a big crowd to organize your translation with this app.
Localizely is highly adaptable and customizable. Whether you’re a student putting theory into practice, building an open-source project, or growing a business and having to manipulate projects in multiple languages daily, it's a good option.
However, you won’t find plugins for AI website translation that is so convenient for eCommerce. So we recommend using this translation management tool for software, app, and game localization.
Besides the usual project dashboard where you can see a string in sourced and translated language(s), Localizely has some nice perks that can speed up a process and improve the experience for all project participants.
With Localizely you can:
☞ Add strings for translation via screenshots
☞ Edit and translate text online and in context
☞ Adapt design in real-time with the Figma plugin
☞ Track the activity of teammates, manage their permissions, and assign them tasks
☞ Be consistent with your branding over the multilingual versions with a glossary
☞ Hire translation service fast on the platform and control translation costs.
☞ With an over-the-air feature, update your apps faster without waiting on approval from App Store or Google Play.
☞ Customize integrations with whatever you need via API access
☞ Handle as much as you can multilingual project in different stages with project branching
Starting with Localizely is quite easy. You need to register for an account, add your teammates, create a project, upload a localization file, assign strings - et voila - everyone can start doing their thing.
You’ll get a guided onboarding from the moment you click the sign-up button through creating the project and using most features. Everything is transparent and easy to find, as seen in the following screenshot.
Localizely has separate pricing plans for individuals and companies so anyone can find something for themselves.
The free plan is for one project and 250 hosted string keys. There is also an option to apply for free usage if you have an open-source project.
The basic plan for personal use starts from $16 per month for unlimited users and languages and 500 hosted strings. This is around $192 for a year.
For 1000 string keys and two projects yearly price is $384, and for 2500 hosted string keys and three projects yearly plan for personal usage is $780.
The plans for companies and organizations start from $125 for 5 Projects, unlimited users, unlimited languages, and 5 000 hosted string keys. Essentially, this plan will cost you $1500 per year.
If you need 10 000 hosted string keys and up to 10 projects, your yearly bill will be $3000. The last one - the golden plan - is for enormous projects that include 20 000hosted string keys and 20 simultaneous projects. This one will cost you $5700 annually.
We looked on Capterra, and there were all straight As. Users are generally delighted, highlighting that customer support is a game changer.
Lokalise is differentiating itself with robust and dedicated marketing.
Although their integration list looks promising and existing, some users shared on Capterra that it can be challenging to implement Lokalise in the current workflow without much disruption.
If we’re to judge a book by its cover, it’s most compatible with marketing departments with heavy workloads.
However, they do offer custom plans for start-ups, mid-size businesses, and enterprises.
Apart from organizing words and phrases in strings, you have some additional options with their integrations that are an excellent fit for marketing localization.
With Lokalise, you can:
☞ Exchange data with Zendesk Guide.
☞ Post project activity to a Slack channel.
☞ Exchange translations and screenshots with Figma and Adobe XD.
☞ Exchange data with Contentful, WordPress, and SalesForce.
☞ Translate HubSpot pages, blogs, and emails
☞ Create tasks in Asana and Trello based on tasks you create in Lokalise
☞ Translates conversations between customers and your team in real-time
☞ Sync your Intercom help docs with Lokalise
Signup and first steps, like creating a project, assigning tasks, etc., were relatively easy… However, we struggled a little bit to find our way back to the project we’re currently running.
The helpful thing was that all the plugin installations were evident in the dashboard, no matter where I was. This also made me think - who the hell wants their flow interrupted with slack messages and emails while they’re trying to focus on translation? But I guess that is only me being a millennial snowflake.
The trick with Lokalise pricing is not about how large projects you have but how many people you plan to include.
Yes, their plans are focused on seats, and they’re starting with $120 per month if you’re billed annually. This plan is for up to ten seats and 5000 hosted keys, which is around $1680 per year.
If you have ten people and 10 000 hosted keys, your yearly plan will be around $2760, while annual billing for 15 seats and 30 000 hosted keys starts from $9900.
Going over users’ feedback on Capterra, we realized that we’re not the only ones confused with Lokalise’s pricing plan, which includes a combo of seats and host keys.
Users are primarily satisfied with the value for money and customer support. Still, they tend to comment that the pricing is confusing, the loading of big files is problematic and that they don't support many file formats (for example, they don't support MD format, which is quite ib in devs' world).
➡︎ Check why Localizely is a fair better alternative to Lokalise.
This translation management software is specific in its niche. It’s solely focused on web content.
No matter which CMS you’re using, they have an integration. They can pull content from your website to their software, translate it automatically, and leave you an option to update the translation if and where needed manually.
Freelancers, agencies and big or small companies have tailored plans.
However, we think this type of software is primarily a life savior for eCommerce websites with heavy workloads of content change.
Yes, they have a dashboard-like place where you can organize hosted strings and edit everything manually.
However, Weglot has some specific features ideal for fast-changing websites:
☞ Multilingual SEO: this feature automatically creates a unique URL for each version of your web page, makes Hreflang tags, and gets your content translated into the source code and not just dynamically.
☞ Visitor language redirection - redirects your visitors automatically to a version they should see based on the language on the user’s browser.
☞ Top-level domain - this one is an enterprise-level feature, allowing you to create a new domain with translated content automatically.
☞ Hiring professional translators - like on most of the translation management platforms, you have an option to hire translators directly.
☞ Translated URLs - a fantastic feature that translates your URLs directly. So the About Us page URL will go from yourwebsite.com/about/us to yourwebsite.com/fr/a-propos.
It started very promisingly - registration was relatively easy, and they’re guiding you through project creation and connection to your site of choice (in our case, WordPress).
Everything was connected in five minutes, and we could go to the project itself and correct machine translation where needed.
The UI is straightforward, thigh, and intuitive… Except, our website didn't go multilingual automatically.
I didn’t get how to publish translated version on my website.
I need to admit that I didn't purchase any plan or talk to the support, but I noticed in Capterra reviews some folks had similar problems. Weglot support troubleshot tight and effectively. The issues were mostly happening when you’ve been using a similar tool previously - which we did.
Weglot has different pricing plans and a free trial option for one language and up to 2000words.
The starter plan is going from 99€ for a year, one language translation, and up to 10k words. The Business plan is 190€ and includes three translated languages and up to 50 000 words. Trial, Starter, and Business plans all include one project and one team member per plan. If you need more projects and team members, you’ll need to consider plans and the higher tier:
Pro for 490€ includes up to 200k words, five languages, and two team members
Advanced includes up to 1 million words, 10 projects, 10 translated languages, and five team members for 1990€ yearly
Extended plan includes up to five million words, 2o languages, and projects, as well as team members, for a 4990€
Like with Lokalise, Weglot is focused on people participating in the project, but more strictly with an additional restriction of project, language numbers, and transition requests.
We found it a little bit confusing, especially because they have a word counter tool that can count all words on your website and create a price for it. The thing is that that price doesn't resemble the numbers on the pricing page.
Most users are satisfied with the fact that machine translation is quite good, but they highlight that it needs manual editing before publishing.
There are users that find their pricing and invoicing system extremely confusing and blocking, and the backup menu is complicated….
➡︎ Check why Localizely is a fair better alternative to Weglot.
Crowdin is probably one of the most popular translation management software among developers, which explains why they offer unlimited public projects in their pricing.
We could say - everyone. But most users are developers with big open source projects. This happens mostly because Crowdin has options like unlimited public projects, where you can just invite your community to contribute as translators and editors.
On the other side, big hard tech-oriented businesses are also big fans, as they can have unlimited private projects on the highest paying tiers. What to say, developers are impressed with unlimited options.
Besides that, it’s common for most customers on Crowdin - they mostly do crowdsourcing.
While Weglot has all the features one might need to organize localization, they’re not available in basic plans. We’re speaking here about basic features for translation management software - like team and project organization and automation.
☞ Public vs private projects: this is almost a unique feature of Crowdin. It’s super useful for crowdsourcing contributions or projects in general. Anyone can be invited to the project and
☞ Custom domain name: easily share your project on your own URL.
☞ Filtering options: Sort sand filter strings without translations, with comments, approved ones, added after a specific date, or use any other available filter to view only the strings you need.
☞ Offline translation: Enable translators to download source files and make translations offline on their computers.
☞ Hidden text: Hide texts that shouldn't be translated. They are visible only to the project owner and managers.
☞ Customizable keyboard shortcut: Create shortcuts for saving translations, switching between strings, and more.
☞ Support for right-to-left languages: Translate right-to-left languages as they will be displayed properly in the translation field and exported correctly.
This one was a no-brainer. The onboarding was smooth, and they guided us through the project registration and creation and uploading of the localization file.
However, things went south when we tried to find where are translated strings were stored… I guess it goes easier with time, but I was lost in the text's chaos. And I'm not a developer, so probably not really a target audience either.
As we said, it's free for public projects, but if you’re into some privacy and business, you can start with $4o for two private projects and up to 100 000 hosted strings. This is around $480 for an annual bill.
Be careful here with pricing. At Crowding, one word/phrase is a hosted string, and it’s counted as one for the source language and one for every translated language.
Overall the users' experience with Crowdin is smooth and on the positive side, mostly because of crowdsourcing possibilities. The things that, however, do concern some users are a struggle to have feature requests addressed, as well as having basic features like team management in the affordable plans. This can be quite a challenge as most crowdin users are hiring freelance translators.
➡︎ Check why Localizely is a fair better alternative to Crowdin.
The Phrase was acquired by Memsource a year ago, and our main concern was whether we should observe them as one brand and product or not.
When we began the research process, they were still operating as two separate branches and two separate products, so we tested them as such. However, at the moment of publishing, they became one brand, one website, and one product, so we removed Memsource from the list.
While it is written that everyone can use the Phrase, the truth is that it’s most suitable for small business that doesn’t grow quickly and have a stable workload.
You’ll see why when we come to the pricing model.
Phrase has a lot of useful features, plugins, and integrations. However, they’re mostly available on advanced and enterprise plans.
☞ Over the air for faster updates of apps.
☞ Integrations with Figma and Sketchbook for faster design and translation alignment
☞ GitHub, GitLab, Webhook, and Bitbucket sync for less dev work
☞ Jira, Slack, and Zapier integration for more automation (or notification)
☞ WordPress and Contentful integration for easier content management
Setting up Phrase is fairly easy; they’re guiding you through the whole process. And once you’re in, managing your tasks and projects is a piece of cake.
The UI is impeccable, and it was effortless to find anything I needed.
Depending on your needs, the price may vary. However, the plans are starting with $24 per month per user for the Basic plan. So the yearly charge would be $288 per user. This one includes unlimited word hosting and up to five seats, but the trick is that you don't have access to machine translation. If you fill out all five users, it goes up to $144o for a yearly bill.
That comes with an advanced plan for $36per month per user - that’s $432 per user yearly. Here you get features like translation memory, advanced review workflow, an in-context editor, and the possibility to integrate with GitHub, Git Lab, Figma, Sketch, etc. If you fill out all five users, the yearly payment goes up to $2160.
However, if you need more than 10 seats, a plugin for branching, and possibilities to integrate with Zapier, Contentful, etc., you’ll need to choose a custom enterprise plan.
It can be an okayish solution if you’re not growing fast - in terms of people and projects.
Most users are pretty satisfied with Phrase.
However, there are some cons to this tool. Most are focused on restricted feature lists, but there are also some serious considerations about not being able to review the translation or not being able to match strings with similar values.
Maybe the biggest turn-off is that file doesn't respect the structure of a resource string file, so a developer still needs to write scripts for pulling and pushing.
➡︎ Check why Localizely is a fair better alternative to Phrase.
Smartcat differentiates itself from the competition in its focus on universities and in general educational institutions. Their AI translation supports video translation, significantly reducing translation costs for educational platforms.
It can be used by anyone, really. The interface is truly simple and intuitive. They have a big marketplace where you can hire linguistic workers - translators, editors, proofreaders, and in multiple languages.
SmartCat is really effective for big projects that need fast pace turnover, as well as website translation, and internal communications. They have options for software, games, website, and app localizations.
However, the ones that thrive the most with SmartCat are e-learning platforms. They have specialized features and options for this kind of software.
☞ AI-Based Machine Translation: 8 machine translation engines to help you translate in bulk
☞ AI-Matching Linguist Sourcing: a marketplace where AI will help you to choose language professionals
☞ Website Translator: A plug-and-play solution that works with any CMS
☞ Integrations: WordPress, Git, Figma, Google Docs.
☞ Project Management Automation: AI-driven supplier selection and human monitoring
☞ Enterprise Security: High-level data protection and control
We tried only the website translation, and it’s super easy.
During the registration process, they offer you to choose whether you want to translate from a document, website, or via integration.
Once you add the URL, the AI needs around 3-5 minutes to translate everything on the page. While the translation is fast, it needs some edits and proofreading, so this is not a set-and-forget option.
The good thing is that you can just click on the edit button and edit any string before publishing.
If you can finish and deploy any project in less than 45 days, and you don’t need long-term savings for your projects - it costs you zero bucks. Unlimited languages, integrations, marketplace access. But you have to pay contractors hired via marketspace in advance.
If you need your projects to be saved and you need more than 45 days, it’ll cost you $99 per month billed annually, which is around $1188. Users are not counted.
If you’re an agency or accompanied by an enormous translation workload, they offer additional scale with automated aI project management. It sounds curious, but it costs $669 per month, of course, billed annually. That would be $8028 per year.
This is the tricky one. The majority of reviewers are translators - freelancers or agencies. At the same time, the focus of their website reviews is mostly on businesses that translate educational material for internal needs.
Why s this tricky? Well, according to a few revives because they changed the target focus. It used to be software solely for translation services, but it switched to business doing localization or its own products. So we’re not really sure how accurate the reviews are.
Anyway, the biggest advantage for translators and freelancers is that they have a freemium option, while the biggest turn is not having the right-to-left adjustment for languages.
On the other hand, agency owners are mostly annoyed with often changes in pricing and fees. It’s also notable that the software is struggling with upper/down cases, and it's not dealing well with certain types of files.
➡︎ Check why Localizely is a fair better alternative to SmartCat.
If you have multiple large projects and multiple outsourced parties working on them, and you just need to organize all that in one place - Transifex is for you.
In-house teams that already have a project management tool, and this software is just an add-on for communication with a translation agency. Assigning to multiple freelancers is a harder option.
Transifex has regular features like the rest of the crew. You can organize and manage translation seamlessly.
Additional helpers could be:
☞ Mobile & Native SDKs
☞ API, CLI, and Webhooks
☞ Advanced Translation Memory
☞ Search Strings Across Projects
☞ Online Source Editing
☞ Bulk String Actions
☞ Business Reviews
☞ Multiple Translation Memory Groups
☞ Priority Translation Memory Fillups
This one is not really in the top three easiest tools, but the sign-up process is standardly light.
Our guess is that with the bigger projects small come all the cluttered cons we read in reviews.
Transifex can turn out pretty costly.
Their pricing page shows a starting point of $70 per month for unlimited projects, but it's up to 50 000 words. If you need up to 100 000 words, it's $140, then for another 50k, you add up another 70 bucks, and so on.
So your basic plan can go anywhere from $840 to $7800 for yearly billing. While your advanced plan can go anywhere from $1260 (105 x 12), to $15 540 (1,295 x 12) for 700 000 words.
If your projects are bigger - you’ll have to negotiate for a custom price
While most of the users agree that the overall experience is fine and that Transifex is making their lives easier, they also agree that it is hard to keep up with the price changes.
Lions’ share of cons on Capterra was about the constant need to upgrade your subscription to be able to continue the work.
Also, project and product managers were bothered with cluttered UI and lacked functionality for searching terms, filtering options, and some real project management options (my guess is assigning and reviewing options).
➡︎ Check why Localizely is a fair better alternative to Transifex.
POEditor is probably one of the most used translation management softwares. Although its name insinuates it’s only a tool for translators and editors, it’s actually much more.
POEditor is a specialized tool for software and app localization. Most users right now are middle-sized tech-oriented businesses.
As we’re getting to the end of the list you’ll notice that all software have more or less the same features. It’s nothing different with this one.
☞ Simple REST API - automates the localization management.
☞ Smart Translation Memory - reduces your translation work volume.
☞ GitHub, Bitbucket, GitLab, and Azure DevOps integration - optimize the file management.
☞ Real-time translation updates - make collaboration efficient.
☞ Slack and Microsoft Teams integration - for live reporting
☞ Crowdsourced translation projects - to tap into your community's potential
☞ Automatic Translation - a starting point for your localization team
☞ Translation History - helps you check previous translation versions.
This was the ninth translation management software we had to set up and use, so it wasn't much work. However, users on Captera and G2 weren’t trouble-free with POEditor setup.
You can notice that colors are a shade more aggressive than on the other interfaces.
This depends on how wordy your project is. the POEditor won’t count how many team members or projects you have or on how many languages you’re operating.
However, they’ll count a number of strings. For POEditor, a string counts for a separate word or phrase. And they are counting separately sourced and translated strings.
Users are mostly satisfied.
The biggest struggle they have is pricing and word counting. It's becoming expensive really fast.
Some of the users weren’t impressed with UX and complained that the UI wasn't really intuitive and that they had a hard time setting up the project and finding where all the features were.
Other ones reported to have problems with API delaying and sorting and filtering group strings.
➡︎ Check why Localizely is a fair better alternative to POEditor.
Smartling is very present in the translation management niche, yet it’s pretty mysterious.
Our guess is that they are using that marketing approach as a differentiator… we can't get with another excuse, really.
Anyone brave enough to commit to a yearly subscription without trying out the software or knowing about what it offers. Our shot is - corporations.
This is also mysterious, they have some vague lists of possibilities and features under two categories - Growth and Connect with Smartling.
They contain lists that say:
☞ Drag & Drop Files
☞ API Integrations
☞ Global Delivery Network
☞ CAT Tool
☞ Visual Context
☞ Strings View
☞ Machine Translation Integrations
☞ Reporting and Analytics
So basics, as every other translation management software.
In reviews, opinions are divided: some users think it’s not an intuitive tool and that it’s really hard to get used to it.
At the same time, others have seen a lot of benefits in workflow improvement once they dedicated their time to set up everything.
There is no free trial, so we weren’t able to check it by ourselves.
Price and variations of the prices are not shown on their website.
On Capterra, it’s shown that it starts from $200, but there is no more information on what is influencing the price.
With this information, we can say it could cost you around $2400 per year, but we can't say what this subscription covers.
Most of the users said they were able to reduce manual actions massively and make the project management more comfortable after putting in some initial work.
Anyhow, a significant number of users are bothered about the platform being slow and not having enough customizable access levels for roles.
There are also reports on having difficulties finding old keys and having limited access to other projects.
Some have said they’re doing better marketing and sales than product improvement, but we can't really judge as we weren’t able to try it out.
➡︎ Check why Localizely is a fair better alternative to Smartling (besides being transparent about prices and operations).
There is an old video from a tv station reporting from the streets where passersby are answering random questions. In that video, one random passerby says: I‘m not able to answer that question because that question is very strange.
I feel the same right now. While all these software from the lists belong to the translation management niche, they are different. They’re built differently, and they’re here to serve different kinds of users.
We would say that Localizely, Lokalise, and Weglot are mostly here to satisfy nearly every need one can have during the localization process. At the same time, they’re all easy to use, implement, and affordable. That's they’re in the top three.
The rest of the software seems like a variation on the same topic, and it depends on the preferences.
How you’ll choose a translation management system depends entirely on you. It depends on your needs, budget, projects, and how tech savvy your team is… How big is your workload? Are you growing, or you’re doing one-time projects?
Anyhow, we invite you to try Localizely and check by yourself why it ended in the number one spot on this list.
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Aleksa is a Software Engineer at Localizely. Over the past few years, Aleksa has been working in the field of software localization. In his free time, he enjoys playing guitar and writing tech posts.
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