Three Major Warning Signs You Waited Too Long to Buy a TMS

Feeling any of these major pain points? Then it might be time for a Translation Management System.


Perhaps during the thunderstorm isn't always the best time to buy an umbrella. Yet sometimes we still find ourselves caught in the rain, not even realizing there was a massive storm cloud rolling in. The same can be said for Translation Management Systems, as silly as it may sound - at first.

When your brand is handling a massive localization project, with ballooning costs and missed deadlines, then you might have waited too long to leverage a Translation Management System. But, it can be difficult to recognize the proper warning signs without a full understanding of the landscape.

That's why we want to offer some insight into the three major warning signs that indicate you might have waited too long to buy a TMS.

1. Stuck In a Manual Process That Drains Resources

Traditional translation workflows have been the same for quite some time. Businesses generally source a Language Service Provider (LSP), and indirectly provide translators with a spreadsheet of content, usually relying on the LSP as a middle-man.

That means your beautiful and engaging user content is converted into a dull and lifeless excel spreadsheet, where translators plug away and translate your highly branded content without any context into the user experience.

Content is then emailed back to you, and developers have to copy and paste that content into their existing Content Management System while hoping it will all fit and the experience will still work as expected.

Sometimes things are even worse, and organizations rely on bilingual employees to translate content, eating up time that should be spent on other business-critical tasks.

With powerful automation, Smartling's Translation Management System enables brands to save time, estimate costs, collaborate with translators and simplify the entire process:

  • Automate The Process - Smartling enables brands to automate their entire translation process, with custom workflows (and even dynamic workflows), automated quality checks, and automated project management. Content will always flow through the system and end up where it needs to be, reaching the market 50% faster thanks to a reduction in time spent on project management.
  • Integrate With Your Tech Stack - Smartling offers several pre-configured API connectors that enable brands to integrate our TMS with their existing tech stack, including CMS platforms, marketing automation tools, and code repositories.
  • Supercharge Translation - Provide translators with the tools they need to work more efficiently, and more effectively. Our powerful Computer Assisted Translation (CAT) tool includes visual context for translators to see exactly how their translations will fit into content in real-time, translation memory to save time and money by leveraging previously translated content, integrated quality checks, keyboard shortcuts, and much more.

At the end of the day, relying on a manual process for translation is time-consuming, costly, and error-prone. Powerful automation keeps content moving, and enables brands to ensure quality goals are always met.

2. Zero Visibility with Zero Data

Relying on the traditional process of emailing spreadsheets back and forth leaves your organization blind, missing out on critical data that can help drive the right decisions, and costing you more time and money in the long run.

Instead, Smartling’s TMS tracks every single click and every step of the translation process. Some key metrics that platforms like Smartling can track include:

  • Source or Translation Issues Reports - Keep track of all source and translation issues, including clarification issues, misspellings, fitment issues, placeholder issues, or poor translation.
  • Cost Savings Reports - Track and measure how much was saved when leveraging an automated process with centralized management, including SmartMatch Leverage Report and Translation Memory Leverage Report.
  • Translation Activity Report - Provides users with a history of every action taken in an individual job. This report highlights data for human translations and edits that were completed for that job.
  • Word Count and Processed Words Reports - Gain a breakdown of completed work during a specified period of time, or the daily number of words translated for the first time in a specific project.
  • String Changes Report - View and download the history of changes that were made to a translated string to either audit the translation process, or provide insight for translation teams to learn how much of the content changed between revisions.
  • Quality Confidence Score - A report of translation quality outcomes, based on eight critical elements of translation and hundreds of data points. This score provides you with a prioritized set of actions that will have the most meaningful impact on improving translation quality.

Smartling even provides businesses with a bird's eye view of the entire content supply chain with our workflow reports. You can understand precisely which parts of your translation process are slowing down time-to-market, without adding to translation quality.

  • Workflow Velocity Report - How much time content spends in each stage of your translation workflow.
  • Workflow Changes Report - How much value each workflow step adds towards improving translation quality.

Without a TMS tracking every single click, your organization is blindly making decisions, potentially wasting both time and money.

3. Zero Collaboration With Translators

Translation should never happen in a black box. Instead, the translation process should be collaborative, and transparent.

Translators are an extension of your team, and their creativity is what will help fuel the success of your brand's experience in a new language. That’s why Smartling strives to connect brands with directly with their translators, we have one common goal in mind: to help you move the world with words.

To combat this black box approach, Smartling provides a powerful combination of transparency and collaboration with translators, enabling brands to work directly with their professional translators for the best possible outcome.

  • Manage Issues Via Slack - Smartling's Slack app enables brands to send Smartling translation issues to a Slack channel, and take action on these issues directly through Slack, and directly collaborate with translators.
  • Evaluate Translator Performance - With the constant data collection and analysis we previously discussed, organizations can zoom in on the activity of each project, individual translator, or specific jobs, to best understand where time and efforts are being maximized or minimized.
  • Manage On-Time Delivery - Data-driven reports also provide businesses with the ability to manage project progress and ensure on-time delivery, as well as overall translation quality.

There are so many questions that translators will want to ask to better understand the intent and meaning of content -- for example the target audience, the goal of the content, and the overall feel -- to best capture that message. Therefore, collaboration with your translator is crucial to successful translations.

There’s a Better Way To Translate

Is your brand still stuck in the early days of translation management: emailing content without any visual context, zero data to quantify the process, and no way to collaborate with translators? We hear a different story with the same theme every day -- content must be translated, but there is no clear path forward.

Along with our list of ten ways to know that your brand is ready for a TMS, we want to help your business determine whether or not it's time for a new solution.

Think you're ready, and want to learn more? Schedule a meeting with a translation and Smartling expert today.

About Matt

Matt Grech is the Content Marketing Manager at Smartling, responsible for growing Smartling awareness and brand content. As a digital content writer, Matt applies his journalistic lens to content, helping users deepen their understanding of the brand, services and technology provided by Smartling. Matt has previously contributed to an industry leading Unified Communications resource, as well as local newspapers where he developed his unique ability to investigate, interview, and transform complex problems into simple solutions.