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What does a translation management system do?
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Aleix Gwilliam
AuthorAleix Gwilliam
Reading time 5 minutes

A translation management system (TMS) is a platform that streamlines translation and localization processes. A TMS helps companies and organizations manage and centralize their whole localization activity, providing full visibility, transparency, and control over every step.

A Translation Management System functions as the central hub for all localization programs, allowing everyone involved in the localization process to work on it simultaneously, from linguists to design specialists to compliance officers.

Why do I need a TMS?

If you are scaling up your localization program (adding languages, increased output, etc.) you will need an online TMS that can help you manage all your localization activity efficiently. The offline tools used in smaller localization setups will no longer be feasible to use, as the scale of the program ramps up. 

Its advanced automation features reduce and in some cases fully removes manual tasks, which results in much shorter turnaround times for localization projects and enhanced productivity for all stakeholders involved, which is particularly helpful the more languages you support.

When do I need a TMS?

A TMS is a tool which becomes necessary when there is a need to efficiently manage localization projects with a certain frequency, multiple languages and locales, and diverse stakeholders. As soon as a localization program starts scaling up, using archaic offline methods starts becoming untenable. The inflection point to move to a TMS would be:

  • Demand for localized content on a monthly basis or less (weekly, daily)
  • 3+ languages or locales
  • Localization program with three or more vendors
  • Over 50,000 words a month to localize

What can I achieve with a TMS that I couldn’t before?

With a TMS, you can potentially achieve a level of efficiency and scalability in your localization processes that was previously unattainable with offline tools. It enables you to effectively manage and coordinate multiple translation projects, centralize language assets for a consistent brand tone and voice in all languages, and communicate simultaneously with all stakeholders on the same platform as opposed to having to send dozens of individual emails to each. 

A TMS gives you control over the entire localization workflow, allows you to allocate your resources more efficiently, and makes project-management tasks and communication much easier. With a TMS, you can also integrate various software systems and automation tools, which is particularly useful if you usually create your content on another platform, such as a content management system (CMS) or a product information management (PIM) solution. A TMS provides you with the tools and knowledge to effectively enhance your localization efforts on a larger scale, helping you achieve higher levels of quality and consistency, and shorter time-to-market times.

Expert tip

Iñaki Hernández-Lasa
Iñaki Hernández-Lasa

Customers often work with multiple language vendors and partners where language assets are scattered and decentralized. This can lead to inconsistent use of language and ultimately weakens market brand voice. By transitioning to a TMS, you can identify these gaps and unify your language assets, and enhance consistency and quality across your localized content, even if you go from 2 languages to 20 or 50.”

Iñaki Hernández-Lasa

Xpert at XTM International

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