When startups boot up in the US, their primary focus is to maximize their success domestically. That’s not a bad goal given that the United States is the largest economy in the world. Still, the USA makes up just a quarter of the global economy.
You read that right! If you started a business today and were solely focused on domestic markets, you’d be alienating 75% of your financial opportunity. Realizing this, more businesses have pushed for global strategies. That has slowly but surely brought an important question to the minds of several team leaders… What is a translation management system?
If you’ve never heard of translation management before and you work in localization, keep reading. Below, we’ll break down everything you need to know.
Translation Management Systems Defined
Translation management systems are pieces of software. They streamline the process of translating text. They help localize web content. They help teams breeze through translating scripts for TV shows, marketing collateral, and the like!
Whatever your localization needs are, translation management means faster, more consistent work.
There are several management products on the market that aim to help companies better manage their language workflows. Most of them get better every year as automation is more successfully integrated, chipping away at the manual process of accurate translating.
Key Advantages of Translation Management Systems
You now have a base understanding of what translation management systems are. Let’s now dig into what they can do for you. As we’ve shared, translation management makes translation workflows more effective. They do that via five key features:
Translating a small blog could be a one or two-person job. For several companies though, translations get far more complex. Think about translating a news website in 12 different languages or doing the same for a 45-hour video game.
Difficult translation tasks can employ teams of hundreds of people. Each of them might need to get fed information on the fly and work together to manage thousands of tasks. Translation management systems streamline that collaboration.
Management systems can auto-assign work. They can flag managers to edit their subordinate’s finished assignments. They even have tools to carry out discussions on complex questions, among other things.
Translation memory is one of the most important aspects of any translation management system. It’s an automation-powered feature that learns from words and phrases that get translated. Those learnings allow it to later translate portions of work by itself before assigning what’s left for manual processing.
This, of course, is an imperfect science given the intricacies that exist in language. Still, by automatically translating 10% or so of assignments, you’re able to save that much bandwidth. What’s more is that translation memory improves every year.
Branding Terminology Databases
What about words and phrases that have no consistent translation? Things like brand names or nuanced slogans that only make sense in their mother tongues?
To keep these important branding elements consistent across borders, translation management systems enable you to work in what’s called a “terminology database”. These databases let users manually set translation rules for important terms. That way, they can be automatically processed and never change from translator to translator.
Terminology databases are loved by big companies. They let the Nike’s of the world ensure their “Just Do It” slogan is always interpreted exactly as the branding team wants it to be. That holds true when the phrase is in Japanese, Spanish, or any other language!
Big projects often require big oversight. They require managers to be able to understand how much of a large translation project got done in a day, who did the most work, and the cost.
Rather than guessing, translation management almost always allows for detailed, automatic reporting. These reports share several important metrics with stakeholders that enable them to rest easy or change course if needed.
The final and most important advantage of translation management software is cost savings. Cost savings appear via a combination of oversight, automation, and through the promotion of teamwork.
In effect, buying and integrating translation software into your company should make you more money than you’ve invested in it.
Is Translation Management Software Right For You?
After going through everything translation management is and what it can do for you, you may be wondering if it’s worth your money. That depends.
Are you tackling a small product information management project that requires a few language fixes? If you are, you’re better off doing those tasks manually. Are you managing a large project that requires multiple people and anticipate more projects like it? If that’s the case, management software will net you savings.
The best advice we can lend is to give translation tools a try before making a large investment in them.
Your Next Steps…
Localization is a process that requires a lot of heavy lifting most consumers will never appreciate. Has that heavy lifting and the prospect of expanding your market/dealing with localization intimidated you in the past? If it has, translation management should ease that stress.
If you’re interested in experimenting with translation management, take action! Start poking around online to see what vendors in the space are pushing. Several programs offer free introductory seminars and trials. Those perks will give you a hands-on taste of how the tool might aid your company.
We promise you this… After using translation tools for a project or two, you’ll wonder how you lived without them!
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