Our world is focused on continuous globalization, eliminating borders between cultures and enabling people from various regions to communicate effectively. Businesses in such a globalized environment usually compete to cover as many audiences as possible and be closer to customers from different parts of the world. Because of this, localization became a trend and still keeps and empowers its position.
We are pretty sure that during your professional way, at least once, you faced situations when the procedures for some projects were built without clear rules. As a result, somewhere in the middle of the chaos, the team starts to "rake" tasks, reschedule the roadmap and fix issues in "fast mode." Localization is not an exception. It is a complex process that requires budgeting, management, and control. Because of this, the translating management systems became one of the critical tools in localization, and our team aims to provide a detailed analysis of choosing the best solution step by step.
Why do companies need translation management tools?
Let's look at a few cases:
- The business already has a multilingual software/website. Your team regularly develop/update features, publish new or edit old pages (create unique content). The localization process should parallel the development to keep the language versions high quality and deliver them on time. Without TMS, your team will be forced to communicate much more, import/export/forward files continuously, and as a result, misspend their time.
- The business wants to localize existing product(s). Adapting the entire software/website/app from scratch also requires much work. In addition to creating general documentation, glossaries, strategies, etc., adapting existing interfaces, internationalizing the project code, and establishing effective team communication is essential. This may seem like a daunting task, but implementing a translation management system can simplify the localization process by consolidating communication, KPI tracking, progress tracking, and translation activities into a single interface.
How to choose the TMS for your project?
There is a great variety of translation and localization management systems on the market. They offer different features, pricing, packages, etc., so you are guaranteed to find something that will cover your needs and more.
Step 1. Define your objectives and business expectations
What are you expecting from the translation management system? Which exact processes do you want to cover via it? These and the questions below will support you with the first research. Also, remember the scalability of the TMS. Will this tool at the same level cover the growing requirements, additional languages, team members, etc? Approach this issue responsibly because starting with the right tool from scratch is much easier and cheaper than switching to the other in the future.
Note: We at the Lingohub team understand this point pretty well and as a result provide support and discounts for clients who want to switch to our solution.
So, at this stage, your main tasks are:
- Determine the languages and content you need to translate.
- Create a map of the existing translation process that shows how your team members are involved, which tools are used, and any issues that may arise.
- Identify the areas where a TMS can improve efficiency and cost-effectiveness by identifying bottlenecks.
- Prepare tentative forecasts of how your requirements will grow.
Step 2. Understand the localization team's needs
One of the essential tasks of the transition management system is to support your team and, as a result, increase its productivity. Include their feedback in your checklist - ask them about pitfalls, bottlenecks, and issues. Generally, the localization process included the following roles:
- Developers (for software companies). The main task of developers is to deliver the code for the project and keep it stable. The worst thing you can suggest for developers to do is manually import and upload files to the repository and then search for the missing tag or placeholder that ruined a page or code. So, look for a solution that allows smooth integrations, API, and other features to improve automation in development.
- Localization/product managers. It will be helpful to find a system that allows a simple overview of the project's progress, and budgets, control localization documentation, and communication with the team.
- Linguistic team. Experienced translators often already work with some CAT(computer-assisted translation) tools. When choosing a TMS, be sure it will at least cover the same tasks. Ask the linguistic team in detail to describe what additional things they would love to implement - the speed of translators often dictates the speed of the complete localization.
- Designers. Your interfaces, animations, and general images will be changed during the localization. The ability to get fast feedback and fit the texts in a short time is essential for designers' work.
- Sales, marketing, and support teams. These teams do not directly translate content, but all their appeals to the audience must have a single tone of voice and terms. In the new version of the app, it's important that everyone uses consistent terminology. For instance, if your feature is called "glossary" in the original and in the new language version named "словник (vocabulary)," the support team and marketers should use this exact word in their communications and materials. With the correct TMS, you can get not only a management solution but a single source of trust for the entire team.
Step 3. Evaluate TMS features and functionality
After the previous steps, you have a list of requirements from the business and team sides. It is the best time to create a complete checklist that will include 100% of your localization needs and begin testing the market propositions.
Start with the banalest - ensure that the solution is user-friendly. The intuitive interface with clear navigation, suggestions, and ready documentation for tech and non tech teams will save you much time during onboarding. Remember that part of your team (translators, linguists) will spend a lot of time in this interface, so the app should be straightforward, bug-protected, and visually pleasing. The following general things you may check are:
- Repositories, applications and other integrations.
- Supported file formats.
- Management features based on your team requirements, but mostly it will be abilities to track progress, money spending, activities control, etc.
- Check CAT features - how they work, which file formats support? Will importing some documents (translated texts) into TMS be easy (if you already have them)?
- Also, we suggest considering the machine translation quality(which engines are under the hood.)
3.1 Automation abilities
Automation features are one of the main advantages of TMS systems. Exclusion of users from part of the processes can save a lot of resources for your business and avoid human mistakes. We already discussed the integrations preventing manual file forwarding, but let's look deeper. For example, Lingohub provides a list of features and their combinations that can significantly save time. Let's look at one for each participant of the localization:
For translators. Prefill+machine translation/translation memory. That means all empty segments could be automatically filled, and your team skipped the pre-translating stage.
For managers. Quality checks that check segments according to predetermined rules (missed or additional placeholders, line breaks, additional spaces, etc.)
For developers. Smooth integrations of your resource files will reduce hours of manual work. Your development team can push your changes directly to the GIT repository(into a specific branch) or create a pull request.
For designers. Figma plugin that allows fast fit of the pre-translated/translated texts to understand required changes.
3.2 Security and сonfidentiality
Data security is paramount when dealing with sensitive or confidential information. Ensure the TMS you choose adheres to industry-standard security protocols and complies with relevant data protection regulations. Look for features such as secure data storage, user access controls, API logs, and audit logs. A TMS provider should have a strong track record in data security and be transparent about their practices.
Step 4. The company's reputation and responsiveness
"Web remembers everything." The company's reputation is also an essential part of research. The review platforms like Capterra or G2 can give you a more detailed understanding of the TMS provider and its system. You can find the solution's pros and cons faster and understand the critical disadvantages (if they exist).
Also, take your attention to the politics of the company about localization support. Will they help you in case of some problems? When implementing and using a TMS, it's essential to have a reliable customer support system in place. You should evaluate the available options, such as email, phone, or live chat, to ensure they meet your organization's needs. Also, look at the localization service provider's training and onboarding resources - help centers, developers' documentation, etc. With comprehensive training documents, your team members can become proficient in using the system and take full advantage of its capabilities.
The sum up
Selecting the appropriate translation management system is essential for boosting your team's efficiency and the accuracy of your translations. Lingohub was created with the aim of delivering a comprehensive localization overview, easy management, and effective CAT tools for our customers. Our feature list caters to all localization participants, including managers, translators, designers, and developers.
We could say more, but it's better for you to see it with your own eyes. Schedule a quick demo call with our team to get exhaustive information about Lingohub in context with your business and answers to your questions.