Finding that one translation tool that will fit all your multilingual project needs is quite challenging. It seems like nothing matches your translation needs. Well, you must put things into perspective to find the ideal translation management system, among all the available options, that best meets your needs. Understanding your business, defining your localization project goals, and having the right tools in place, are some important factors to effectively executing your translation project.
When you look at different translation management tools, you will see a huge diversity in the functionalities of TMSs. You may not need all the features that someone else is using. However, understanding your business goals and knowing the target market can help you prioritize your needs and choose the best translation management software for you. Here are some guidelines that will help the businesses land on the right TMSs that will fulfill their expectations.
Why Do You Need a Translation Management System?
Rapid globalization, which allows businesses to explore new markets, also puts a lot of pressure on them to stay relevant. It is only possible if you localize your brand based on the interests and preferences of local customers. And, to make it happen, you need a professional translation management system that would make your localization journey much smoother and easier.
Regardless of the nature of your business and the scope of your translation project, having a smart TMS improves your efficiency and gives project managers more control over things. From managing high volumes of content to enabling seamless communication between translation teams, a professional TMS keeps the localization simple for you. Moreover, it will make the whole translation process much faster, so you will not have issues like missed deadlines, and your team will achieve targets on time. Using a TMS indeed saves a lot of time, money, and effort.
How To Choose the Right TMS?
Know Your Localization Needs
Before talking about a translation management system, you must have a clear vision of what you exactly want out of it. Knowing your translation needs would allow you to get your hands on the right TMS tool for your localization project.
Define Localization Goals
It all starts with defining your localization goals; if you get them right, you’ll stay on track, and focus on your vision. List down all the goals that you want to achieve throughout your localization project. It will help you choose your translation software features accordingly. It depends on the scope of your project; for example, if you’re a freelance translator, your translation needs would be very different from a language service provider. By knowing your goals, you will be able to figure out how basic or advanced tools you should have to meet the target.
Recognize Target Markets
Which markets do you want to target?
It is an important question because it’ll give you an idea about which language pairs your TMS should support, and how much content you will need based on the number of markets you’re targeting. Not all markets are meant for your business, so you better do your research and choose the markets that have good potential for your business. You should make a list of all current target markets and also the markets you want to target in the future.
Specify Team Needs
Throughout your translation management project, you have to work closely with your teammates. You need to understand their needs and bring them the best tools and resources they want for the smooth and successful completion of the localization project. The better you understand your team’s needs, the better you’ll be able to go ahead with translation and localization work.
If you have an in-house translation team, you should also get their opinion about the TMS tool, and what features they’re expecting to have in the system.
Know Your Budget Constraints
You can’t simply buy any TMS available; at the end of the day, you have to stay on a budget. The challenge is to find the best option within your budget. Of course, you have to put good money into localization to get actual results; yet, it is important to keep a check on things. The budget and cost of your TMS are also highly dependent on the scope of your project, its technicalities, and its complexities. Similarly, you can’t simply put all your money on TMS because you need some human force as well. So, it is important to consider all aspects of your localization project and only invest in affordable TMS.
Pen Down Your Expectations From TMS
Now, as you are clearer about your business goals and localization needs, it would be easier for you to figure out what exactly you should look into your translation management system. You must write down the key considerations that will go into buying the TMS tool.
Regular Content Needs
How much content do you need to translate regularly? Knowing the number of translations you have to generate daily is important. You can ask your TMS provider for translation software that would fulfill the content need. If you are working on multiple localization projects, your TMS should be of good speed, to help you manage your everyday translation workload. So, speed is an important factor to consider while buying a TMS. Low-speed TMSs can lead to a lot of complications, and you are more likely to miss clients’ deadlines.
Quality of Translations
Quality is an abstract term when we talk about localization. In simple words, it means the effectiveness and relevancy of words to the audience. Moreover, it should meet all the brand’s/client’s requirements. Many factors affect the quality of translations including speed, technology, efficient workflows, and progress tracking. If you want quality translations, you must have a system in place to ensure it. You must ask your software provider about the quality assurance processes its TMS uses. This will allow you to have an idea about how many mistakes are already eliminated by the system before manual proofreading and editing. So, make sure you are using a TMS with a built-in QA tool that will reduce your proofreading time and improve the overall quality of content.
Every business has its unique technical requirements including integrations, automation, and formatting that they want in their TMS system. The person who is buying the TMS should be aware of the technical needs of the localization team. These technical features would have a direct impact on your workflows, speed, progress tracking, and overall experience with TMS.
The first thing is formatting, which would affect your overall experience on TMS. For instance, whether you have to store the strings into the resources files or you access them live through the codebase. It also depends on what type of interfaces/formats are more familiar to your developers, so they can easily get used to the formats and localization workflows.
Similarly, it is important to know how automated the processes are to optimize the localization operations and make it easier to scale your business. Also, ask your TMS provider about the integration options that they’re offering.
Security is an important factor to consider while looking for your perfect TMS tool. We know that cybercrimes and hacking are at their peak, and your online data could be stolen and misused anytime. Working on cloud-based TMS would raise concerns about data security. So, you should evaluate how much security TMS offers and how it would prevent data breaches. If you are dealing with sensitive data, such as financial, legal, or medical information, it becomes even more critical for you to ensure the confidentiality of data.
For this, you’ve to analyze the security measures that TMS performs to keep the data protected, and how often it performs these measures. Moreover, you must also consider whether security processes are automated or need any human involvement. Automated security measures are preferred because manual measures take a lot of time and you may need a dedicated person to take care of security.
Entering the foreign market is just the first step, and the real struggle only starts when you try to grow and capture a higher market share. As your business thrives, your localization needs would also increase rapidly, so you have to be ready for this. Your TMS should be scalable to support your business’s future growth. If your TMS is not scalable, you may have difficulty managing translation and meeting the daily word count requirement. You may need to hire more staff to fulfill the content needs and manage heavy workloads. Therefore, when buying a TMS, you do not just keep in mind the current requirements of the business, but the business growth needs as well. So, whenever there is a surge in localization needs, you can immediately shift to the advanced version of TMS with a higher capacity to manage volumes of content.
Features To Look for In Your TMS
As you understand your localization project’s requirements and expectations, you can better evaluate the features that can help you down the line to achieve your localization goals. Following are some significant features that must look into in your TMS based on your localization needs.
Manual translations are very time-consuming and expensive which can reduce the efficiency of your localization project. Having a professional machine translation tool would help you manage your day-to-day translation load more effectively. You don’t have to put more pressure on your staff or hire more translators. Professional MT tools generate high-quality translations in the quickest turnaround time. So, there will be no missed deadlines and delays. However, you must ensure that your MT software has advanced features to generate relevant and effective translations. Machine translation and glossary features improve the quality of your translations. We have discussed MT system features in the points below.
Translation memory is an amazing feature that allows your machine translation system to generate fast and relevant translations. It is a database that stores all the translations the system has done so far and uses them to generate new translations. Translation memory also improves the efficiency and competence of your TMS over time. One thing to note here is, that around 70% of the time MT tools would not use the stored data for translation. It is only useful when you’re translating repetitive content.
This is also a useful MT tool that saves a lot of time and improves your translation quality. Glossaries are like your brand vocabulary that contain industry-specific terminology and brand definitions. It also allows your localization team to better understand brand translation tone and style. This way, your translations remain consistent, no matter how many translators are working on them. Brand glossaries are created once and used throughout the project. So, you don’t have to separately train your translators regarding brand translation requirements.
Customer Support/Vendor Management
If you’re a language service provider who has to deal with multiple clients daily, your TMS must have customer support features. The customer support team will always be on your back if you’re having any technical problem and any error occurs during the execution of operations. Make sure they offer a quick response to your queries with no delays.
Similarly, having a vendor management tool on your TMS is also significant. You can’t simply depend on one vendor; you have to work with different vendors throughout your localization project. Having a vendor management tool would help you keep track of all vendors, maintain their records, and communicate with them in real-time. It would save your time and show your professionalism to the vendors’ community.
Based on the markets you’re targeting currently, or the ones you want to target in the future, you must choose TMS that supports all language pairs to fulfill your translation needs. Language pairs that your TMS supports are an important factor to consider because some TMS is more efficient in translating some language pairs than others. Here you must set your priorities to choose the best TMS option.
If you’re looking for optimized localization workflow and automated translations, TMS is the best solution for global businesses. Choosing the right translation management system is critical to achieving the expected localization outcomes and business growth goals. Make sure to follow the guidelines mentioned in this article to select the perfect TMS; otherwise, it would not just waste your precious time and resources, but also lead to localization project failure.