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Translation Management Systems (TMS) 101 [2024 Guide]

Translation management systems (TMS) are integral to the translation processes of enterprise organizations and translation service providers. In this guide to translation management software, we answer your questions here in an easy-to-understand way.

In this article, you’ll learn:

  • what is a translation management system
  • TMS benefits
  • how translation management software works
  • and more!
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What is Translation Management?

Translation management means managing content and processes involved with converting text from one language to another.

What is a Translation Management System?

A translation management system (TMS) is a system that aids in the development, management and automation of language translation (converting text from one language to another). This includes digital content, web assets and more. Translation management systems are also commonly referred to as translation management software.

This type of software platform falls into the category of computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools. A TMS helps translate, organize and manage large volumes of translated texts and documents.

what is a translation management system

Translation management systems are solutions used to centralize translations and facilitate a collaborative and streamlined translation workflow. Because translation management is rarely a one-person job, centralized access and easy collaboration are highly desirable in this type of translation software. This is why cloud translation management systems have become increasingly popular, as they can be accessed from a browser.

In short, translation management systems are productivity enhancers for human translation.

How Do Translation Management Systems Work?

In a translation management system, the user uploads a file in the source language, which is then automatically translated into the target language by a machine translation engine. These TMS software programs are commonly built on the Microsoft Translator or Google Translate engine framework, which provides a rough translation for the bulk of the document. 

The text is then presented in an interface where it is separated into segments. These segments contain phrases or sentences, and the source language and target language version of the segments are aligned side-by-side.

translation management system features

The target language segments can then be revised within the same interface by someone who possesses written fluency of the target language. This process is called post-editing, and it serves to improve the quality of the machine-translated text (since machine translation isn’t perfect).

Post-editing within the software allows for a contextual experience, which helps the branding and intent of the document to remain intact.

Machine Learning and Translation Management Systems

In premium translation management systems, machine learning (a form of artificial intelligence) is oftentimes employed to remember the improved version of the machine-translated phrases and sentences that were post-edited. These are stored in a Translation Memory.

A Translation Memory (TM) is a bilingual repository within the software. It stores edited translations for future automatic recall. The Translation Memory automatically applies these changes to all repetitions of the phrase within the active document and future projects.

5 Benefits of Translation Management Systems

Here are the 5 main benefits of a translation management system:

  1. Delivers continuous translation quality improvements
  2. Eliminates repetitive post-editing of the same sentence or phrase
  3. Reduces manual labor (hours worked)
  4. Reduces translation-related costs
  5. Provides a return on investment

When You Should Use a TMS

It’s time to adopt a better system for managing translations when you:

  • Manage translations in spreadsheets
  • Go back and forth by email or Slack with collaborators
  • Have a large volume of documents and content to process

You can also take this assessment to determine whether or not you need one.

Who Uses Translation Management Software?

Medium-to-large enterprises are the most common users of a translation management system. Sometimes they leverage the benefits of TMS by way of hiring a translation agency, but they can further conserve resources by managing their translations in-house. 

translation management platform

Enterprise translation management systems are popular due to the sizable amount of written text enterprises produce and use on a daily basis. When enterprises convert the language of a text to communicate with multilingual audiences, stakeholders and employees, it typically requires a generous amount of resources. 

Managing multiple languages and dialects is time-intensive. These software applications can aid in translation productivity and quality assurance for these companies. As a result, they save money on translation and reduce hours worked.

what is a translation management system

Selecting a Translation Management Solution

Selecting a translation management solution is no easy decision. Even with all the TMS reviews and comparison tools available online, it’s still difficult to decipher which one is right for you. However, the following information will help you narrow it down.

Best Features

Regardless of the translation management software you choose, there are specific translation and localization features you should always look for. Choose one based on these must-have features: 

translation management systems
  1. File translator
  2. Copy-and-paste text translator (gisting)
  3. Translation editor
  4. Machine learning & translation memory
  5. Terminology management & termbase glossary support 
  6. Batch file translation
  7. Flexible file type compatibility
  8. Collaboration: translation tracking, edit history, invite colleague to edit file
  9. Messaging & contextual conversation log
  10. User permission controls
  11. Ample commercial language pairs
  12. Spellcheck & custom dictionary
  13. Enterprise-level translation management security
  14. Compliant with industry mandates (e.g. GDPR, HIPAA)
  15. Live customer support
  16. Flexible purchase plans for scalability
  17. Robust API access for integrations
  18. Cloud-based translation management platform
  19. Real-time analytics & reporting

Cloud vs. Desktop

translation management system

A cloud-based platform is going to allow for more flexibility and less downtime than a desktop-based one. Here are 10 benefits of a cloud translation management system:

  1. Access your cloud-based TMS from multiple devices
  1. Greater insight into translation project status
  1. Better communication equals better collaboration
  1. No installation necessary
  1. More uptime
  1. Better value
  1. Operating system compatibility doesn’t matter
  1. Translate from anywhere on the globe
  1. Easy onboarding & user friendliness
  1. Enterprise-level security (verify with the TMS provider)

Start Managing Translations with Pairaphrase

best translation management system

Pairaphrase’s enterprise translation management system is a cloud-based platform built for the modern enterprise and everyday business user. 

With a suite of professional translation tools (minus the unnecessary bells and whistles), we build the power into the back end of the software. The result is an easy-to-use interface, short learning curve and user-friendly onboarding. Therefore, your company benefits from a faster path to ROI on your translation management investment.

Not to mention you get all the features and must-haves listed above, plus more.

Schedule a demo or share this article with a colleague.

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