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What is the difference between out-of-the-box and custom connectors in a translation management system?
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Aleix Gwilliam
AuthorAleix Gwilliam
Reading time 5 minutes

A translation management system (TMS) supports connectors (or integrations), which are software components or plugins that facilitate integration between other systems or platforms and the translation management system. Connectors allow data and content to flow between the external systems and the TMS, and they can be either out-of-the-box or custom.

What are out-of-the-box connectors?

An out of the box (OOTB) connector is a pre-configured integration that is readily available “off the shelf” and can be set up straight away without much or any customization. OOTB connectors are usually developed by the TMS provider for more prominent content-authoring systems, such as Adobe Experience Manager or Hubspot. They use standard functionalities and predefined workflows that cater to the most common use cases. 

For example, the content is selected for translation directly in the authoring platform, the target languages are chosen in the TMS integration, and the content is sent for translation. Once the translation is completed, it’s sent back and imported directly back into the original authoring tool through the connector, ready to be published. The main benefit of an OOTB connector is that it can be deployed straight away after deploying the TMS and that it is a more affordable option in comparison with a custom connector.

What are custom connectors?

On the other hand, a custom connector usually is developed specifically at an organization’s request to meet their particular requirements. The development of a custom connector takes a lot more time (weeks or months, depending on the complexity of the platform), as typically it needs to be created from scratch and can cost up to 8x more than an OOTB connector.

Custom connectors are usually needed when users need to connect the TMS to a proprietary system or because their localization workflows and requirements are very specific and cannot be supported by default connectors. 

Out of the box


  • Immediate deployment

  • Lower costs

  • No maintenance required from customer

  • Troubleshoot directly through provider

  • Continuous improvement (roadmap)


  • Lower degree of customization available

  • Dependency on developer updates

  • Lack of workflow flexibility

  • Limited deployment options

  • Less influence on roadmap



  • More reliable and robust integration

  • Tailored to your needs

  • High level of vendor support

  • Can be developed in reusable modules


  • Weeks or months to deployment

  • Higher costs

  • No official support from provider

  • Backwards compatibility not guaranteed

Expert tip

Alejandro Cañete
Alejandro Cañete

The choice between an out of the box connector and a custom one depends entirely on your requirements. Time, budget, workflow flexibility, and desired level of customization are all factors that play a part in the choice of connector type. If your budget is on the lower end and your authoring-platform requirements are not too specific, an OOTB connector should work well for your program. However, if you have a more flexible budget and you use a proprietary authoring tool or have very unique workflow requirements, a custom connector is the best option for you.”

Alejandro Cañete

Xpert at XTM International

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