As a business grows and expands into additional markets, it is essential to translate and localize content in order to resonate with new audiences. But even a seemingly straightforward translation project can quickly become complicated. And when a business is unfamiliar with the translation process, working on an accelerated timeline, or needs to translate into multiple languages at once, it can become a hassle for everyone involved.
Translation management systems (TMSs) help businesses to ramp up and manage the translation process. They offer several tools that help automate tasks, streamline processes, and facilitate collaboration, ultimately affecting translation quality.
But with many different options, it can be challenging to settle on a TMS that will accelerate business growth. If you're trying to decide between Smartling and Lokalise or are looking for an alternative, this page will help you understand which solution is best.
What Is Smartling?
Smartling combines advanced technology with expert language services to help businesses — including DoorDash, Shopify, InterContinental Hotels Group, British Airways, and WeWork — effortlessly expand into new markets and connect with customers worldwide.
Our cloud-based translation management system offers a host of customizable features designed to centralize control, facilitate collaboration, increase efficiency, and improve translation quality. And our expert language services connect businesses with seasoned translators who have extensive industry knowledge and can help provide native brand experiences for global audiences.
What Is Lokalise?
Lokalise is a cloud-based translation management system that aims to help companies automate the translation process. It has features that make the translation process easier. Lokalise also offers machine translation options and can connect companies with human translators if desired. However, its solution lacks the customizability and functionality that businesses value when translation needs start to become sophisticated.
Smartling vs. Lokalise vs. Legacy Tools
Perhaps surprisingly, cloud-based tools are still relatively new to the translation industry. Until recently, many businesses and language service providers (LSPs) had to resort to on-premises solutions that required an involved installation process. And those solutions sometimes would only work on specific operating systems. The linguists, in many cases, had to purchase their own software licenses. Additionally, it was complicated to ensure continued compatibility between the software they used and the software the business or LSP used.
Compatible file formats were also limited. So often, businesses would copy and paste their content into spreadsheets or simple text-based documents and send those files over for translation without context.
Finally, communication and most file transfers were relegated to lengthy email chains, and larger files were sent and received via FTP software. The process was so cumbersome that communication about the content itself was limited.
A few companies, including Lokalise and Smartling, have embraced the cloud. They have built user-friendly translation management systems that have streamlined translation efforts and removed several barriers to creating high-quality translations. Users can quickly and easily upload many different file formats for translation ⸺ no more copying and pasting or converting files to compatible formats! Linguistic assets are stored in the cloud, accessible to all, and updating them is simple.
Further, both Lokalise and Smartling incorporate visual context, computer-assisted translation tools, and quality checks into the TMS, so all translation happens in the cloud. As a result, businesses have more visibility into the translation process and can track progress easily.
There are, however, several differences between Smartling and Lokalise (and other cloud-based providers). Those differences are crucial when it comes to delivering the flexibility and seamless experience many businesses need. For example:
With Lokalise: Users can create tasks (such as translation and review). They can then organize those tasks into chains so that when one task is completed, the next one starts automatically.
With Smartling: Users can create workflows that move content seamlessly from one step to the next. They can also leverage dynamic workflows to automatically route content to specific steps based on pre-specified criteria, such as fuzzy matching score, inactivity, file URI, or website URL.
With Lokalise: Translators have access to quality assurance tools, such as automated QA checks, spelling and grammar checks, translation memory, and glossaries.
With Smartling: In addition to leveraging brand assets (your glossaries, style guides, and translation memories) and automated quality checks, Smartling generates a personalized Quality Confidence Score™ that gives customers a real-time view of translation quality.
Users Consistently Choose Smartling
It's important to choose a translation partner that has proven itself time and time again. Smartling has been ranked the top translation management system for eleven consecutive quarters.
Some of the features our users call out as being top-notch include: our easy-to-navigate and feature-rich UI, customizability, and the visibility we provide into the translation process. We set the bar for customer support high for ourselves and our users.
"Great translation platform with flexible workflows to handle any localization task. … It's as hands-on or as hands-off as you need it to be." — Josh H., Current User
The Typical Cost of a TMS: Lokalise vs. Smartling
Cloud-based translation management systems often operate on a SaaS model. Prices vary immensely and can depend on the level of customization and support you need.
The cost of translating your content is priced differently. You will usually be charged per word and target language. Minimum word fees are the norm.
The use of Lokalise's TMS, for instance, is billed annually or monthly. Four tiered plans unlock different features as you go up the pricing ladder. Per-word translation fees would presumably be charged on top of those fees.
Smartling, like Lokalise, offers different ways to engage with the TMS. If you're in the beginning stages of localizing your content, we can offer a robust platform with what you need. And as your localization program grows, we can provide you with access to more advanced features to help you scale.
But here's where the details matter.
Although Lokalise offers several tiers, you'll want to pay close attention to what features are included in each tier. The lowest tier, for example, currently doesn't offer access to translation memories or glossaries. On the other hand, Smartling considers those to be non-negotiables, although moving to our more robust Enterprise plan gives you access to more advanced management features.
Lokalise also caps the number of users to 10 to 15 for all but the enterprise plan, although extra sets are available for an additional monthly fee. Smartling, in contrast, allows for an unlimited number of users, no matter which of our two plans you choose.
Further, although Smartling offers separate software subscriptions and per-word translation fees, we also give businesses the option of bundling software costs with language services. As a result, customers can receive steep discounts, making the total cost of translation easier on your wallet.
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 Lokalise?
Lokalise offers tools that encourage automation and efficiency. These enable different stakeholders — developers, project managers, linguists, etc. — to collaborate via the cloud. But it doesn't offer the same level of customizability that Smartling provides.
Smartling's industry-leading tools work together seamlessly to streamline your translation workflows and supply businesses and translators with everything they need to localize content. Businesses that use Smartling have the option of leveraging our network of fully vetted, expert linguists and bundling translation services with our robust TMS to better balance speed, quality, and costs. Finally, our stellar customer service ensures businesses are supported throughout the localization process.
With Smartling, you can also:
- Easily scale your localization efforts as your business grows
- Send content for translation via a wide range of integrations without writing a single email
- Leverage a combination of previously translated material, AI-enabled machine translation, and professional translation
- Provide linguists with computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools and visual context, which minimize the risk of human error
- Use dynamic workflows to automate tasks and increase efficiency
- 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 Language Service Provider
It can be challenging to choose a language service provider (LSP). That's especially true when the translation and localization process is unfamiliar to you. When deciding between language service providers, keep in mind the following:
- A proven track record of translating for your industry and into your target languages is critical.
- An LSP should be receptive to having an open conversation about how they measure quality.
- An LSP should not assume you want a "black box" approach. From quality to budget to the actual translation of your content, the process should be as transparent as you want it to be.
Partnering with experts and having the right tools at your fingertips is critical when you're trying to expand your business. Ready to learn more about how you can set yourself up to be successful in your localization efforts? Download our sample translation RFP and contact us to get started.