Bojana Vojnovic
Bojana Vojnovic
July 29, 2022
6 min read
July 29, 2022
6 min read

What are translation management systems, and how you can use them

Translation management system

Globalization of brands can lead to enormous success or not-so-glorious failure.

What makes a difference is if you understand the local market you’re trying to penetrate and how the localization of the product is done. 

Most of the time, word-for-word translation won't work when you need to translate an app. You need to understand local dialects, cultural context, humor, currency flow, and date range that are in use - only to mention some - to get an accurate translation.

Whether we love or hate Excel, it’s honest to admit that the management of translation processes is out of its capacity.

When doing software localization, the translation management tool emerges as the story's hero. 

What's a translation management system, anyway?

A translation management system (TMS) is a platform that you can use to organize software translation projects. 

You can unite a developer, localization specialist, LSP, and editor on one translation management platform. You'll need a project manager to guide the process and do content management, but for the rest you can rely on the translation software.

Most of them are usually cloud-based, so you don't have to worry about scalability.

Whether you’re choosing a web-based translation management system or one that’s on-demand, it’s important to understand if you need static or dynamic translation management. 

Double-check if the platform offers dynamic translation options if you have eCommerce localization projects. Any translation management platform will do the work for everything else (software, apps, regular websites). 

How does a translation management system work

Translation management systems are equipped with different functionalities and features that you can use to simplify and streamline the workflow and processes.

Translation editor

Here’s what you can do with translation management systems:

Automate repetitive tasks

Most translation management software lets you choose between multiple supported languages

You also have the option to upload your own glossary on desired languages. This way, you'll automatize keeping the words you don’t want to translate. Having predefined words can improve the quality of your translation. You’ll be consistent and keep the strong branding and your tone of voice.

Translation Memorry

Additional help for cutting out redundant tasks is having translation memory. This feature will memorize all translated words and phrases you approved during a review.  Later, the software will automatically offer you those translations whenever you import localization files containing them. 

Some of the translation management systems support machine translation, like Google Translate or Amazon Translate. This can enable you to translate in bulk and then focus on the adaptation of raw translation.

Machine Translation

Work with platforms you already use

The translation management system should help streamline the process - by definition. 

While you’ll have to upload some files and do task assigning, you can also have the TMS integrated with the apps and software you’re already using with native integrations or with APIs.

You can also upload different variations of localization files, so your developers' team doesn't have to waste time on documentation transfers or manual import in sheets. Not to mention that this feature helps your translators by giving them all the visual context they need.  

Test translation variation easier

Seeing translation in the app and realizing it’s too long starts the translation cycle all over again. 

Luckily, translation management systems can have in-context editing. This means you can immediately check how the table's text is positioned in the app or the browser - which speeds up the process. 

Flutter in-context editing for translations

You could also use the project branching feature if you’re translating your template app for various clients. 

Translation branching

You can do the translation from your source language to your desired language. Then copy that translated content into the desired number of branches. There you can adapt information like the brand’s name, address, etc.

This will enable you to compare translations and adapt them easier. You'll also have a faster testing phase.

Update apps faster

It’s no secret that the slowest part about the release is, well, the release itself. Every update of an app can be painful due to approvement waiting line - for both Apple and Google stores. 

The good news is that some of the translation management systems have a solution. It’s Over-the-air localization

With this feature, you can push updates to your app without waiting for Google or Apple to release it. 

Scale at speed

It's 2022, so most of the software is cloud-based. While you can find TMS that are on demand, the efficiency of cloud-based translation management systems is that you can scale faster.

You need to add new language translation, new versions, and more employees to the project? Web-based translation management systems can be upgraded in just a few clicks, and sometimes, even dollars. You don’t have to wait for eternity while you break the budget to the ceiling. 

Collaborate effectively

Whether you have an in-house team, you’re outsourcing or mixing all together. You can manage translation projects in the same place using translation management systems.

You can add different collaborators and assign them their tasks and deadlines without any unnecessary email or switching through various CRMs and docs. 

Additional help you can find on TMS are options to order translation from translation service agencies partnered with Localizely. The Language service providers won’t be able to see your whole translation project. An assigned translator will see only the parts you assign to them. The same rule is applied to a freelance translator as for translation services. 

Measure your work and improvements

Costs of errors and inefficiencies are often the biggest deal breaker for breaking the budget and deadlines the budgets. 

When you’re organizing translation processes within multiple docs, emails, and excel tables, you can’t really measure efficiency nor find errors in the process that could be improved.

Translation statistics

The beauty of the TMS is that they mostly offer reports and statistics. So you can easily measure all parts of the workflow for all collaborators during the project. 

How do you manage a translation team with TMS

So what actually looks like to work in a translation management platform?

☞ You must create a project in the dashboard, where you choose your source language and the languages you need to translate.  

Upload the localization files, and add some screenshots of the app or software for the UX context. This will improve translation quality and make the translation process smoother and with fewer revisions. 

☞ The next step would be to assign parts of the project to translators and add comments and deadlines where and if needed. 

☞ After the translation is done, reassign the task to editors so they can review it and approve it, or ask for a correction and reassign it back to translators.

Once this process is over, you can reassign the project back to developers so they can add translations to the app - manually downloading the file or via GitHub integration

Improve market penetration with a translation management system

Positioning in a new marketplace is not an easy venture. There are a lot of processes, high stakes, and costs...  and you didn’t even start yet. 

With the best translation management system - like Localizely -  you’ll be able to simplify workflow and processes, automate redundant manual tasks, scale faster, and collaborate across departments more efficiently. 

Try Localizely TMS, and leave more energy and focus for your teams to do quality translation and feature coding - so penetration to the new markets can go as smoothly as possible.

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Bojana Vojnovic
Bojana Vojnovic

Bojana is a Content Marketing Consultant at Localizely. She is interested in languages and marketing. Also, she is a big fan of tech products.

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