Smartling vs. Lilt

Localization helps businesses create native brand experiences, which opens the door to global customers. But it will only come true when done right. So if you are unfamiliar with the translation process, working under tight timelines, or want to translate into several languages, the best course of action is to call in reinforcements.

Translation management systems (TMSs) automate tasks, streamline processes, and facilitate collaboration. In essence, TMSs help set businesses up for a successful launch into new markets.

However, it's not easy to pick the right TMS for your business. If you're trying to decide between Smartling and Lilt or are 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,, 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 Lilt?

Lilt offers a cloud-based translation platform. The company's software aims to increase the productivity of translators and project managers by incorporating artificial intelligence, predictive machine translation, and automation into the user experience. The company also offers to connect businesses with translators should they need it. However, many users may find that the solution falls short as translation needs become more complex and the language pairs more varied.

Smartling vs. Lilt vs. Legacy Tools

Cloud-based translation management tools have taken the translation industry by storm.

Yes, several companies and language service providers (LSPs) continue to rely on legacy tools to manage the translation process and expand into new markets. They still copy and paste strings into spreadsheets for translation, pass files back and forth via email, and have limited interaction with the linguists working on their content. But by doing so, these companies risk losing any competitive edge they may have otherwise enjoyed.

Instead, savvy companies opt to use translation management tools that leverage cloud computing to streamline and bring transparency to the translation process. They are also interested in how AI-powered technology can further decrease time to market and increase translation quality.

Lilt and Smartling are both cloud-based TMSs that make the translation process easier for project managers and linguists alike. Automated workflows, reporting dashboards, and avenues for direct communication all help to streamline the process. Lilt and Smartling have also found different ways to incorporate artificial intelligence to enhance the user experience and lower translation costs.

But not all cloud-based translation management systems are the same. There are many notable differences between Smartling and Lilt (and other cloud-based providers). For example:

  • With Lilt: Companies can send content for translation directly from within familiar content management systems via several connectors and integrations.

  • With Smartling: Smartling offers various integrations that allow you to bring translation seamlessly into your existing workflows. But we don’t stop there. Our powerful Global Delivery Network translation proxy helps you quickly and efficiently deploy multilingual websites with almost no IT involvement.

  • With Lilt: Translators have access to Lilt’s proprietary machine translation (MT) tool, which adapts to a linguist’s style over time. However, there’s no ability to customize workflows to leverage MT in other ways, such as eliminating the human translation step and having the linguist simply edit the MT output.

  • With Smartling: Smartling connects with several of the most powerful MT engines on the market. Translation workflows are customizable, so businesses can choose how specific content is treated. Low-priority content may go through an MT-only workflow, while users can elect to have medium-priority content machine-translated and then have a human edit the output. This ultimately lowers translation costs and frees human linguists up to focus on high-priority content.

Users Weigh In: Smartling’s Platform Makes Translation Simple

Before settling on a translation management system, it pays to check out what current customers are saying. After all, what better way to evaluate what your user experience will be than to hear from your peers who already have hands-on experience with the TMS you’re considering?

G2 users have left 200+ reviews, scored us a 4.5 out of 5 stars, and ranked our translation management system #1 — all of which speaks to the stellar user experience you can expect when you choose Smartling.

Customers love our feature-rich platform and rely on us to seamlessly translate their website and other content via our powerful GDN translation proxy and a wide range of integrations. In addition, our stellar customer service continues to win us accolades.

"The platform is very robust and allows the organization and coordination needed to translate a large amount of content. More importantly, the service and support that we got from Smartling made the project seem uncomplicated and effortless. We are utilizing Smartling's Global Delivery Network (GDN). It allows us to keep our current workflow in place. The pages are written and managed in our custom CMS, then consumed into GDN, approved, and translated. That workflow allows us to communicate directly with the translators, and any and all issues are resolved quickly. Once final approval is given, the pages show up as live translated pages on the GDN." — Brian W.

The Typical Cost of a TMS: Lilt vs. Smartling

Lilt doesn’t offer many details on its pricing model. So it’s unclear at a glance how much it would cost to use its TMS or its language services offerings.

But cloud-based translation management systems are usually subscription-based. The cost per month or year varies, and it's common to see companies offer different tiers based on the features you need.

On top of that, businesses can expect to pay separately for the actual translation work. In general, rates are priced per word and depend on the language pair. Minimum word fees are also typical if you are outsourcing the translation work.

Smartling, for example, offers a couple of different ways to engage with the TMS, and our pricing is simple. Our Growth plan offers businesses a robust 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.

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 Lilt?

Lilt's cloud-based platform has features that translators and project managers can use to accelerate translation. But the software doesn't offer as many customizable features or provide the same level of functionality that users enjoy with Smartling.

Among other benefits, Smartling's industry-leading platform allows you to:

  • Use dynamic workflows to automate translation decisions and direct content to specific steps without any manual involvement.
  • Leverage our Global Delivery Network translation proxy to deploy dynamic and SEO-compatible multilingual websites with a guaranteed 99.99% uptime.
  • Tap into our network of fully vetted expert linguists to help you produce engaging native brand experiences.
  • Rest easy knowing that our enterprise-grade security infrastructure is compliant with industry standards and regulations and works hard to keep your data safe.

What To Consider When Choosing a TMS: A Spotlight on Integrations

A successful localization strategy is one that’s fully integrated into your company’s workflows and processes. That is, companies who prioritize localization — and consider it part and parcel of their overall marketing strategy — will find they can more easily engage with customers across their target markets.

That’s why it’s crucial to choose a TMS that can seamlessly work in tandem with your existing tech stack and workflows. Consider, too, not just what your translation needs are today but what they will be in the future. Often, businesses start by translating a few marketing materials or their website. But translation needs tend to multiply, and you’ll want to choose a company that can easily connect with all of your content repositories.

For example, Smartling 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 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 to get started.