Choosing a TMS: Getting Started
By: Yee Lam Cook and Viviana Bertinetto (Global Language Solutions)
06 March 2015
Purchasing a Translation Management System (TMS) can be a major investment for your company, especially if you are anticipating increasing translation needs. A TMS that suits your needs can cut costs and turnaround times significantly if chosen properly, so careful thought should be given when choosing the best TMS for your company’s needs.
Almost all TMSs on the market include a business management component (which incorporates project management, resource management, billing, etc.), a process management component (which integrates project workflows, content connectors, etc.), and a language component (which manages translation memories, termbases, style guides, etc.). Different systems have their own strengths so we believe there is no “optimal TMS” on the market (yet!), but we hope the following provides some general guidelines to get you started.
Talk to Stakeholders
Before the search, it is a good idea to gather the stakeholders in your company to discuss current and future translation needs, as well as any current technology requirements or infrastructure that might be required to remain. Some of the existing technology may be integrated into the new system and data may be migrated. It is important to plan for any additional support that may be needed to take care of the migration.
Understand the Needs and Requirements
Another important point to consider is whether your company has certain translation requirements that need to be met. Is there any type of current technology/software that your company is already using? For example, does your company need or anticipate the need for website localization? If so, what Content Management System (CMS) is your company is using? There are a few TMSs on the market with connectors for some popular CMSs, auto-update detection, or even in-context preview during translation. This feature could reduce translation time drastically, if a suitable system is chosen.
Moreover, nowadays many TMS providers understand there is a need to ensure their system works with your existing technology – the solution is often APIs or plug-ins that developers can help your company to develop to eliminate the need to copy, paste, and upload any content to the TMS. Examples include plug-ins for Drupal (a popular CMS) or APIs for Salesforce - with these plug-ins or APIs you can upload content directly for translation into the TMS. Evaluating the need for integration to your existing technology could help you refine choices – it would be great if such an API solution is already available in the system that you are considering. If not, it is still worth looking into other aspects of the TMS to see if developing one, either using your internal resources or with the TMS provider, could be a solution as well.
Consider Other Functions Your Company Might Need
Your company may need advanced business support such as analysis and campaign management. In this case, most TMSs can provide functions such as resources management, billing, invoicing, project management, tracking translation process, etc., and some also provide more advanced options such as business analytic reports that you can create based on criteria that the user has selected. Support with campaign management such that team members can collaborate on the platform globally may also be available.
If a particular Computer Assisted Translation (CAT) tool is already used company-wide, there are now an increasing number of TMS offering CAT tools on the cloud, together with Translation Memory ™ and termbase stored online and ready to be used with the CAT tool. Such a setup can even further reduce any back and forth regarding compatibility issues since they can always translate in the cloud and no installation of software is necessary.
So We Say…
There is indeed plenty to consider before committing to a TMS, and your optimal TMS might be different than what others have. Regardless, we believe the “optimal TMS” should be somewhat customizable to fit your company’s translation needs and current technology – developing from scratch could be expensive so an optimal balance would be a pre-packaged solution with the possibility of developing certain features, if needed. It should also have responsive support staff behind the software in case of emergency or when you need development solutions.
Yee Lam Cook is a Translation Technology Analyst at Global Language Solutions (GLS). She has extensive experience in project management and localization engineering. In her current role at GLS, she is responsible for translation technology training for the project management team and implementing best practices within the company. Ms. Cook has a Master of Arts in Translation and Localization Management from Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey.
Ms. Viviana Bertinetto manages the Translation Technology Department at Global Language Solutions. In this capacity, she oversees the development, optimization and management of all Translation Technology solutions. Ms. Bertinetto possesses a unique combination of linguistic and management skills and has extensive experience in localization. Prior to joining GLS, she held management positions in the file, gaming, e-learning, and software localization fields both in Europe and the United States.