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A high-quality Translation Management System (TMS) is the cornerstone of a well-run localization program. Just ask any TMS vendor! But, what problems are solved by a TMS? Let’s explore the answer by considering the least complicated scenario you’ll face:  a document that must be translated into another language.

Translating a single document can be a series of simple steps.  First, you submit the source content to a translator. How do you do that? Maybe you send the document through email.  Maybe you share it via Box.com or a similar service. The translator does the work of reproducing your content in the target language. The translator provides the completed translation back to you. You then distribute the translation to your target audience.

Need your content in another target language? No problem! Simply repeat the process for every language you require. Now, add a second document that needs translation. And then a third. Now, all of the pages on your company’s website. Throw in some product documentation and a few video transcriptions, too. 

That can be a lot of emails and a lot of document transfers happening! How do you track progress? How do you know when new content needs to be sent for translation? How do you incorporate feedback on the translations you’ve received? How do you know how much your team is spending?

It doesn’t matter how “simple” the translation process is. Any process that is frequently repeated takes time and effort. If there are multiple activities overlapping, there is overhead to manage status and communication. Human error begins to play its inevitable part. The first job, then, of a Translation Management System is to automate the repeatable processes that make up your translation workflow. This is why other business-critical processes such as payroll, billing, and inventory have been automated over the last sixty years — to alleviate the burden of tedious, manual, and error-prone tasks.

With a Translation Management System in place to automate the translation workflow, we can now begin to add sophistication to the process. Reporting on actual volumes and projected costs is a simple task for the TMS. The TMS can track and reuse previously approved translations through Translation Memory. Terminology consistency can be enforced through glossaries. Interested in using machine translation and AI to dramatically increase the volume of content you have translated? A TMS provides integration with the best-in-class machine translation engines. You’ll even be able to fully integrate with content sources and eliminate the file transfer nightmare that plagues content owners and localization managers. With a TMS in place, digital transformation becomes a reality for localization teams.

The Lingotek Translation Management System (TMS) does all of these things, and more, for our clients. The Lingotek TMS automates and streamlines workflows, integrates with many different content sources, drives quality improvements while constraining costs, and provides transparency and accountability in the translation process.

In future posts, we’ll introduce a variety of topics in translation management and Translation Management Systems. We’ll explore Translation Memory, Quality Management, Term Bases and Glossaries, and we will spend plenty of time on machine translation and its impacts.