Oct 08, 2020

A Beginner’s Guide to a Translation Management System

With the massive technological evolution in various industries, it has become easier for global companies and mid-level enterprises to cater to the needs of their international clients, customers, and employees. With this ease, comes the responsibility of making every single piece of information accessible so that the company makes a good profit and creates an impressive global brand image.

It’s no wonder that brands and organizations across the world have been utilizing various language services like translation, localization, subtitling, interpretation, etc. to increase accessibility, communicate accurately, and build trust. However, if your brand is collaborating with a language service provider (LSP), you know the amount of time and effort that goes into getting a project done and launching it in the market. Long email conversations, waiting for the quote, back-and-forth on the quality checks, and managing various versions of translated content can reduce your team’s productivity and efficiency over time.

This is where a translation management system (TMS) comes to your rescue. Although you might think that shifting to a TMS will be a hassle, it can help you immensely in the long run.

For the article, LSP refers to a language services company, independent translator(s), and/or your internal localization team.

What is Translation Management System (TMS)?

A translation management system is a software that is specially designed to help cross-functional teams in managing their translation projects efficiently. It mainly involves an automated workflow, project tracking, and file management. It brings all your multilingual communication efforts on one dashboard. 

For instance, if you have multiple marketing teams in different locations, a TMS helps to create virtual groups for each of them so you can track their progress as the time. Alternatively, you can create virtual groups for teams that are collaborating on certain localization projects. This way, cross-functional teams, let’s say marketing and legal teams, can collaborate easily on projects.

translation management system team collaboration

Why Shift to a Translation Management System (TMS)?

Let’s dig deeper and look at how a TMS can help you cut down on the time, effort, and cost that your team has to invest in translation projects.

Automated translation workflow

In a traditional setup, your team shares multiple files for each project with your LSP. This process typically involves the following:

  • Writing many emails
  • Converting from one file format into another
  • Uploading large files in tools (like Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.) for access
  • Providing feedback by highlighting errors in the concerned file
  • Communicating specific instructions and requirements for each translation project

A TMS saves you the hassle of the constant back-and-forth by enabling you to:

  • Upload your files in the system
  • Select which users have access to those files
  • Provide feedback within the system via notes or comments
  • List any specific requirements for each project (or a set of projects) at one go

An ideal TMS supports all file types frequently used in translation and localization projects across the world. So, your team doesn’t need to keep switching between various formats.

Seamless integration with other tools

Your teams may be using a tech stack – a combination of tools to manage multiple company processes efficiently. Depending on your product/service and industry, these can include content management systems, customer support tools, customer service help desks, reporting platforms, and more.

translation management system integrations

Training your teams to adopt and use a tool or software properly is a mammoth task. So, you must opt for a translation and localization solution that doesn’t disturb your team’s usual processes. A comprehensive TMS does precisely that – it seamlessly integrates with all the tools your teams use and inserts itself into the process easily. As a result, your teams can continue sharing and transferring files and data from any tool to the TMS and vice-versa.

Centralization of your linguistic assets

If you ask your teams to name one major challenge that they’ve been facing in translation projects, they’ll likely say ‘file management.’ Managing files is part and parcel of translation projects – all the original and translated content is saved in files. In case of some feedback, there might be multiple versions of each file.

A TMS simplifies this process and helps your team upload, store, and download files from one location. They can also choose to check the various versions of one file. The ability to add reference material like style guides and glossaries also ensures that all the teams maintain the company’s content standards across all projects.

Effortless collaboration between teams

Your team might have a mix of people with different job responsibilities – say, one looks after the content while the other looks after the design. Also, your team might have a hierarchy – say, a manager ensures that deadlines are met, and projects are completed to his/her satisfaction.

A TMS enables you to set different levels of access for each member of the team. Access levels help you share files with the concerned people and avoid any errors in file handling. They also help decrease one member’s dependency on another. For instance, the designer wouldn’t have to wait for the editor to notify him about the final content file. Once the content is finalized, he will be able to access it and start with his share of the work.

Cost-effective solution

As and when you start doing projects within a TMS, it keeps building a Translation Memory – it identifies and stores translations of repeated segments. As a result, you can avail a discount on the total cost of the project. This memory keeps building while helping you reduce your translation costs considerably.

Additionally, a TMS can help you replace all the tools your team has been using to manage translation projects. Subscribing to a monthly plan for a TMS will enable you to cut down on the costs of using multiple tools.

Global view of projects

Global organizations have a common complaint of being unable to see all the ongoing, finished, and blocked projects for all their teams across the world. Consequently, team members spend a lot of time creating reports and notifying each other about the status of the projects.

translation management system projects

A TMS provides you with complete visibility of all your teams’ projects, schedules, deliverable, resources, etc. This helps you plan and strategize better. As a result, your time-to-market (the amount of time it takes for your team to release the translated and localized content) reduces.

Reduced dependency on developers

Your team probably depends on developers to replace the translated and localized content into your systems – be it a blog, website, app, helpdesk article, etc. With a TMS, you can share access of your systems with your LSP and their team and directly upload, replace, or transfer the finalized content. For instance, you get some strings of code translated into a language, your LSP will be able to replace the code and make any other necessary changes for the translation to look perfect. Similarly, you won’t have to depend on developers for creating different programming files for each language in case you are localizing a website or an app.

As you see, a TMS helps the LSP manage your projects from end-to-end so that your team finishes projects in a hassle-free manner.

A scalable solution

Global organizations grow rapidly, and with growth comes more projects. While you may be managing your projects via emails or any other tools right now, you need a solution that stays relevant to you as and when your company grows. Your teams will need an efficient solution to handle large volumes of translations – this where a TMS helps you.

A TMS is a scalable solution that helps you stay organized as you keep expanding into new markets, getting more customer queries, producing more content, etc.

A secure solution

When you’re sharing your company’s information with an agency or a third-party tool, data security becomes crucial. This is especially important if your company deals with information that is sensitive, for instance, medical, legal, financial, or government information.

A TMS which has the required certifications or meets the relevant standards for your market (ISO, GDPR, HIPPA, etc.) ensures that your data is safe and secure. For instance, the banking details you add in the TMS for making payments should always be encrypted end-to-end.

Tracking payments is easy

If your team is using another tool to track payments and invoices all your translation projects, that would require them to enter information and update the status manually. A translation management system doesn’t require you to leave the platform you can:

  • Choose a payment method & pay online
  • Track the payment status of each project (to be paid or paid)
  • Keep a record of all invoices
  • Download invoices


A translation management system is the perfect solution for all brands and organizations looking to expand their businesses globally in the most efficient manner.




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Aarohi Pathak

Aarohi Pathak

Aarohi Pathak is the Senior Content Writer at Translate by Humans. A former English literature student, she believes that the world's best stories are yet to be written. Given a choice, Aarohi happily wears the copywriter's hat and combines words that drive action. She has previously written content for finance and insurance, FMCG, and technology industries.

When she's not writing, Aarohi spends time collecting mugs, reading, and checking TV series off her 'to watch' list.

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