When it comes to localization, businesses could feel slightly out of their element. There are many moving parts — from finding the right linguists and preparing the files for translation to finally going live with their translated content.
Fortunately, translation management systems (TMSs) can make localization projects go a bit more smoothly. These software solutions are designed to store translated content, automate repetitive tasks, and provide a clear avenue for efficient collaboration.
However, it's not easy to pick the right TMS for your business. So if you're deciding between Smartling and Crowdin or looking for an alternative, this page will help you understand which solution is best.
What Is Smartling?
Smartling is a localization project manager's secret weapon.
Our AI-powered translation management software centralizes and streamlines the localization process, and our integrated CAT tool provides translators everything they need to produce high-quality translations. In addition, customers can also receive personalized project management assistance and tap into a network of seasoned and fully vetted translators from all over the world.
Brands of all shapes and sizes — including Pinterest, Hootsuite, Eurail.com, Wilson, and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) — use Smartling to localize content and engage with their customers worldwide across devices and platforms.
What Is Crowdin?
Crowdin is a localization management platform that aims to make the translation process more efficient. It offers tools that encourage collaboration across time zones, assists businesses in keeping content centralized, and streamlines workflows. In addition, Crowdin offers an online translation editor for translators. Even so, many companies that are looking for a full-scale, end-to-end translation management platform may find themselves constrained by Crowdin's solution, especially as their localization program matures.
Smartling vs. Crowdin vs. Legacy Tools
Believe it or not, even with all of the advances in technology over the past several years, many businesses still rely on old-school, highly manual processes to translate their content for new markets. Developers and project managers still spend hours copying strings into spreadsheets or text files to prepare files for translation. These files are then emailed to linguists, who often work without context. As a result, communication is sporadic, with critical information often lost as the number of email chains multiplies.
The result? Sub-par translations, plus a high probability of translation errors.
Fortunately, a few companies, including Crowdin and Smartling, have stepped up to the plate to help. Both companies offer cloud-based TMSs that leverage technology to help streamline the translation process. There is, for instance, a focus on simplifying file preparation, automating workflows, encouraging in-platform communication, and incorporating in-context translation tools.
But not all cloud-based translation management systems are the same. There are many notable differences between Smartling and Crowdin (and other cloud-based providers) when it comes to delivering the efficient, seamless experience businesses need to translate their content. For example:
- With Crowdin: Users can create and assign tasks to project participants, set due dates, and receive updates when tasks are completed. Project reports, which detail basic information about translation status, progress, and costs, are also available.
- With Smartling: Customers can customize workflows and assign specific users to each step. They can also group as much or as little content as desired into jobs, and they can set due dates for each job according to timeline needs. Finally, customers can track project status at a glance, and robust reporting provides valuable insights into cost estimates, cost savings, workflow velocity, workflow changes, and more.
- With Crowdin: Users can use their own translation team or order translations through Crowdin from third-party vendors. Users also have the option of crowdsourcing their translation.
- With Smartling: Customers can engage their own translation teams, but Smartling is also a full-service LSP. Customers can lean on expert project managers who provide white-glove support throughout the process. These project managers thoughtfully handpick which translators and subject matter experts work on each translation project, so customers can feel confident their translations are in good hands.
Users Weigh In: Smartling’s TMS Is Ranked #1
The success of your global growth strategy largely hinges on how well you localize your content. So when choosing a TMS, you shouldn’t be left wondering if they’ll live up to their promises.
G2 users have consistently ranked Smartling’s TMS number one. In particular, users love our feature-rich platform, the variety of connectors, and the customizability, all of which make the translation process seamless. They also regularly call out our stellar customer service.
“The biggest issue Smartling solved was the inefficiency of our previous translation process. The files would have to be downloaded and then sent off for translation manually, with these changes then having to be manually uploaded to the website. Now what would have taken hours takes minutes.” — Alex K, Digital Producer
The Typical Cost of a TMS: Crowdin vs. Smartling
Typically, pricing for cloud-based translation management systems follows a subscription model. Often, companies have a few plans at different price points, and you can select which one best fits your needs.
The translation work is considered a separate service. Most companies and linguists charge by the word, and the rate will depend on the language pair. Businesses may also need to pay minimum word fees.
Crowdin, for instance, offers many software subscription plans at different price points. The plans are separated into different categories — personal, organizational, and enterprise solutions — with each plan within those categories unlocking more features and increasing translation limits, such as those placed on the number of source strings businesses can have translated. Customers have a choice whether to be billed monthly or annually.
Smartling, like Crowdin, offers different ways to engage with the TMS, though our offering is much more streamlined and straightforward. Our Growth plan offers businesses a full-featured platform equipped with everything needed to produce high-quality work on a deadline. Our Enterprise plan unlocks a few more advanced features that businesses will find valuable as their localization program matures, such as vendor management, custom workflows, and translation job and MT automation. We don't limit the number of source strings you can send for translation, nor the number of projects you can set up. Indeed, we don't cap your usage on either of our plans, period.
Further, we give businesses the option of bundling software costs with language services, which results in significant savings.
Finally, we offer three ways to buy our services:
- Pay As You Go: New to translation? We'll help you get started quickly with usage based pricing
- Volume-Based Discounts: For larger localization projects, you can receive discounts as your usage grows
- Committed Use: Commit to a certain level of usage based on project scope and receive deeper discounts
What Differentiates Smartling from Crowdin?
Crowdin is a localization management platform that automates specific translation tasks and offers both project managers and translators a better experience when compared with legacy translation tools. However, users may find that the software doesn't provide the complete end-to-end offering and white-glove service Smartling provides.
Among other benefits, Smartling's industry-leading platform allows you to:
- Leverage Smartling's managed services and leave the day-to-day tasks to us. Or take the reins. With several reporting features, customizable workflows, and more, you can be as hands-on as you’d like.
- Lean on expert project managers to navigate the translation process and connect you with our network of fully vetted, professional linguists.
- Ensure all brand assets are centrally stored and easily accessible to your linguists.
- Rest easy knowing that our enterprise-grade security infrastructure complies with industry standards and regulations and works hard to keep your data safe.
What To Consider When Choosing a TMS: A Spotlight on Integrations
When preparing to go global, it can be daunting to introduce a new software solution to your teams — even if it will make their lives easier. An intuitive UI, though extremely helpful, doesn’t entirely eliminate the learning curve. One way to minimize the time it takes for your team to get used to a new tool is to choose a TMS that can seamlessly work within your existing tech stack and workflows.
That’s why it’s vital to ask about what integrations are available with any TMS solution you are considering. You’ll want to opt for a software solution that makes it easy to connect with all of your content repositories — both those you use now and those you plan to use in the future.
Smartling, for example, offers a wide range of connectors that enable you to send content for translation without ever leaving the programs you use daily. That way, whether you decide to translate your website, mobile app, eCommerce system, support center, marketing materials, or all of the above, you can use our fast, reliable, and customizable integrations to automate the entire translation process.
Partnering with experts and investing in the right tools is crucial when you want to connect with customers around the world. Ready to learn more about how you can supercharge your global content strategy? Download our sample translation RFP and contact us today.