E.g., 07/11/2020
E.g., 07/11/2020

Why Invest in a Translation Management System?

By: Calvin Scharffs (VP of Marketing) - Lingotek, Inc.

20 September 2017

If you want to upgrade your existing translation management system (TMS) or are a first-time translation technology buyer, you’ll need to convince the decision-makers responsible for your localization budget that it’s a good investment.

Translation technology probably makes up a sizeable portion of your budget, but there is some persuasive return on investment (ROI) data on the payoff when you invest in localization. Common Sense Advisory (CSA), an independent research organization for localization, internationalization, globalization, and marketing groups, found that Fortune 500 companies that invest in translation are 1.5 times more likely to experience an increase in total revenue. That’s a statistic you will definitely want to pass on to the decision-makers in the c-suite, responsible for your translation budget.

In addition to the CSA survey research, there are other ways investing in translation management can lead to ROI:

●     Lower cost of ownership.

●     Cost efficient reuse of linguistic assets.

●     Better resource allocation.

●     Greater integration that reduces inefficiency.

Superior translation tools have the ability to reduce the number of staff needed to manage translation, provide a more agile go-to-market strategy, and boost productivity through greater organizational efficiency.

The ROI of Superior Translation Tools

A cloud-based TMS has a lower cost of ownership

To accurately assess the ROI of a TMS, you’ve got to consider the total cost of ownership. Getting translation management on a subscription basis using Software as a Service (SaaS) means you don’t have any overhead, capital expenditures, or added expenses from storage space or electricity usage. No long-term subscriptions are required, you can choose to renew (or not) each year, and a TMS is also very customizable. You aren’t charged extra for additional licenses. There are a wide variety of apps available so you can tailor the system to meet your particular requirements. You can add vendor management and business intelligence capability, and several others. Upgrades to the software are automatic and don’t cost extra.

The cost-efficient reuse of TM

Translation memory (TM) stored in the cloud lets you leverage every previously translated word for faster, more cost-efficient translation. CSA reminds buyers that there is real value in leveraging your linguistic assets. “What we think is valuable is that over time you build up your translation memory, and you want to be able to leverage that – the more content you have available that can be shared across multiple projects, the more valuable it is to you. And you should pay more for that.”* There is no need to email TM databases back and forth, or merge disparate TM files after the project has already finished. TM that is stored in the cloud lets linguists share it as soon as it’s created. With older, outdated systems, TM is stored offline and can’t be shared until the LSP emails it back.

In-context review saves time on costly editing and review

Top cloud-based translation technology gives LSPs real-time in-context review (ICR). This powerful workbench tool brings translation, formatting, and review together in real time and in one place. When translators and reviewers get a real-time preview of the target web page as they work, it saves on costly review and editing time afterward when the project is finished. You can eliminate the inefficient back-and-forth and improve quality by catching mistakes earlier in the process.

The ROI of Integration

The old, transactional translation model based on processing projects sequentially can’t keep up with today’s demand for dynamic global content. With an integrated cloud-based TMS, the localization of content becomes faster and more streamlined, so you can save time, money, and reduce the burden of operational management. Integrations with third-party applications through robust API’s virtually eliminate the need for manual conversions and file transfers, substantially reducing costs and productions times. A cloud TMS creates an ecosystem that enables everyone involved in the process, to constantly collaborate at each stage of the workflow.

Eliminate inefficient and costly silos

Translating in silos is inefficient. When separate business units in a single organization duplicate work, you end up paying for translation of the same content over and over again. It also makes it difficult for localization managers to maintain translation quality, keep costs down, and ensure consistency of customer experience and corporate branding.

Localizing content is better managed with a cloud-based translation management system (TMS). It provides centralized storage and access to all of your linguistic assets and allows you to reuse multilingual content across all of your applications. Translation memories (TM) that are stored in the cloud lets linguists share them across projects as soon as they are created. A cloud-based TMS allows real-time collaboration and coordination, unlike premise-based translation management that stores TM offline. It can’t be shared until the translator emails it back. The ability to centralize linguistic assets also improves consistency in messaging, branding, and user experience. When you combine your translation spend across business units and bring together technology and processes in one real-time collaborative platform, you’ll save both time and money.

The ROI of More Efficient Project Management

Many organizations suffer from a lack of standardized translation processes. Coordinating translation across multiple time zones without a standardized process leads to poor communication and unnecessary delays. Change management becomes a nightmare. When there are too many manual steps and not enough automation, it can take anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks to complete a translation.

A cloud-based TMS automates the creation of new translation projects by letting project managers pre-select languages, pre-assign translators, and add commonly-used settings that are unique to your organization. A simple, intuitive, drag-and-drop selection process makes it easy to create and automate projects to your exact specifications. With customizable workflow tools, they can automate many of the processes and streamline project management and choose the appropriate workflow for the company’s budget and content quality needs. 

The ability to collect translation data on project size, delivery, and quality gives project managers the strategic insight they need to better manage resources. Reporting and analytics empower project managers to make strategic translation decisions. They can view the number of words translated by each translator, see how many words still need to be translated on the project, or just glance at the percentage completed. Access to web analytics shows which languages and translations are engaging customers. If you are using community translation, you can get reports that will show you who your star translators are. In addition, our configurable point system lets you incentivize your volunteer workforce by displaying real-time point tallies.

Automatic triggers and email notices keep projects moving, so there is no downtime. A powerful rules engine in the TMS allows you project managers to trigger actions throughout the project lifecycle, from notifying a reviewer when a translation is ready for review to reporting project status to an external system. It brings AI-like capabilities to optimize translation project management and save valuable time. As each piece of content completes its workflow, it can be configured to automatically publish the translation to your website or CMS. An open, multilingual API with industry-standard exchange formats provides convenient interoperability with third-party translation tools.


Whether you are investing in a translation management system for the first time, or are considering an upgrade to the latest technology, it won’t take long to earn a return on your investment. The ROI of superior TMS CAT tools, seamless integration, and more efficient project management will have a positive impact on your departmental efficiency and continue to reduce your translation costs well into the future.


*How LSPs Should Pay for Software: TMS Pricing Models Explained. Common Sense Advisory. July 2013.

Calvin is a dedicated executive with over 20 years of experience managing products, sales, marketing, operations, and personnel. His experience ranges from work with a Fortune 500 companies to small start-ups.