One of the ways a TMS enables you to deploy your resources efficiently is that it enables you to create customizable workflows. These allow you to create automated sequences, for instance for translating your marketing content from English to Spanish, saving you the need to select the same settings over and over again. The workflow could include ‘Translation’, followed by ‘Review’ with a separate resource followed by a final ‘Quality check’ by the client. A good TMS will enable you to add as many workflow steps as required, choose who should be assigned to each step, and automatically notify linguists as soon as a task is created. Plus, workflows will ensure a new step (such as reviewing) starts automatically as soon as the previous one (such as translating) is done.
This will save you time, but also ensure that the right resources are assigned to localization projects. Plus, good TMSs will give you several options to ensure your translation is delivered on time. For instance, it should enable you to notify several linguists of your choosing that new content needs to be localized, and assign it to the first person who accepts the request. Plus, some will allow linguists to accept or refuse the tasks, ensuring that you always have full visibility and can react quickly.
The flexibility that comes with the ability to fully manage customizations and configurations is a key consideration for companies who are successful on a global scale. That way, they can ensure that all processes are correct, unified, and automated. For instance, simply by using workflows, RS Group was able to tackle the fact that their process required too many manual steps leading to slow turnaround times, incurred additional costs due to inconsistent translations, and contained errors due to linguists working off the wrong file. The ability to create multiple, customizable workflows should be an integral part of your localization strategy.
Since a TMS provides a holistic view of everything that is going on in your localization ecosystem, it enables you to have access to all of the data for every task made and project completed. That way, you can compare vendor costs and quality metrics, which allow you to identify improvement opportunities. Companies like Klook use that valuable data about their finances, resources, and projects to make smart decisions, and save time and money. This enabled them to choose the most-effective language service provider for any given project, while having all localization projects clearly visible and firmly under their control.
The provision of insightful data is not the first thing people associate with localization technology, but once companies start seeing what they can do with it, they then start leveraging it, and soon start reaping the benefits. A strong TMS will enable you to gain insights into your supply chain and into individual team members (e.g. linguists, subject matter experts): Have they delivered on time? Do they follow brand guidelines? How do they compare to the average? How cost effective is that part of the supply chain? These are important questions to answer, as choosing the right linguists for your international content can make or break your expansion into your target markets.
Using the analytical data provided by your TMS to make the right decisions and optimize your output volume will also enable you to reduce total cost of ownership where possible, thanks to the full visibility it provides. Adopting this approach is one of the most advanced levels of content maturity, and it would not be possible without the use of a Translation Management System.
Leveraging a TMS to get better oversight into translation progress and linguist workloads enables you to meet your deadlines while ensuring you are recognized as highly dependable and reliable in your target markets. But that’s not all. A TMS also allows you to use Neural Machine Translation (NMT) as part of your translation workflow.
As NMT keeps getting better and better, it has become a basic need technology for any enterprise. Although how and when you use it will depend on your needs, it now has to be part of any global content strategy. NMT now delivers increasingly accurate results, and it would be a costly oversight not to leverage its power as part of your localization strategy. This way, linguists only have to focus on doing a short review rather than translating the whole string. This addition will instantly improve your team’s productivity, enabling them to deliver localization projects faster and at a lower cost. Here’s an additional tip: it is important to use an open TMS which offers the best of breed NMT providers, letting you choose the one that works best for you.
Now that some of the manual tasks have been automated, a smart decision would be to reallocate that time, not simply cut costs. This is what FARFETCH chose to do: they asked their staff to use those extra hours to do market research to understand their global audience better, and ensure the content would resonate with them, which further increased the quality and relevance of their translations.
Depending on what languages are spoken within your team, you may initially be tempted to leverage the skills that you have readily available—which isn’t a viable option. If you are serious about establishing yourself on a more international scale, you’ll need to hire expert external linguists. Although it seems straightforward, one thing that big companies have to keep in mind is that they may use different linguists for different types of content.
For instance, you may prefer to work with a freelance translator for your legal documents, while an agency takes care of your marketing material. Or, you may want to have different agencies for each language, or simply different freelancers. As your automated workflows should be customizable, this wouldn’t matter as you could assign anyone to any step, at least in theory. However, some TMSs are tied to specific language service providers (LSP), which would tie you to a specific agency—whether that agency is the best choice for you or not. Plus, your supply chain needs may evolve and change in the next 6 to 12 months, and you’ll need the flexibility to grow and adapt based on those changes. For these reasons, make sure that the TMS you choose is vendor-neutral and enables you to choose the right linguists for your needs.
To make this as seamless as possible, your TMS should also enable you to have access to floating licenses that you could share with your linguists or LSPs. That way, like Klook, you can ensure that you still fully own all of your localized content, without having to pay extra for new licenses. Your linguists would simply log in to the cloud-based TMS, complete their task, and a license would be freed up once they are done—enabling an in-house reviewer to take over that license and check their work, for instance.
When investing in a new technology during uncertain times, it may be tempting to just go for the cheapest option, or not invest at all. While a TMS will enable you to generate revenue on an international scale, it’s important to keep in mind that it should fit your needs not just today, but for the foreseeable future as well.
A TMS should be able to scale up—or down—depending on your needs. A scalable solution offers many benefits, the key one being that you can adapt and create more or less localized content without having to pay more for your TMS license. That’s why it’s important to invest in a solution with a fixed rate, ensuring that you don’t end up incurring hidden costs for the months where your translated output increases. A pricing model based on volume usage will not enable you to scale — you’ll have to pay more to produce more, which is the opposite of what you need.
When it comes to being able to scale, another thing is that it should enable you to integrate with other systems. For instance, being able to connect your Content Management System (CMS) to your TMS will radically enhance the level of automation you have by enabling you to send content for translation at the click of a button, and having the translated content automatically sent back and imported into your system, ready to publish. As you create more localized content, this will become a necessity to streamline your process even further. Global companies like GoTo and Ariel use connectors to streamline their localization process and drastically reduce their turnaround time.