Investing in translation services helps businesses expand into new markets. But successfully managing the localization process requires the right combination of expert linguists and software. You also need a rock-solid project manager to help ensure the right content gets translated on time and on budget.
Here is where translation management systems (TMSs) shine. TMSs take on the role of that project manager's right-hand man during the translation process. They offer a suite of tools to automate tasks, streamline processes, and facilitate collaboration, which leads to higher-quality translations.
However, it can be challenging to pick the right TMS for your business. If you're trying to decide between Smartling and Memsource or looking for an alternative, this page will help you understand which solution is best.
What Is Smartling?
Smartling is a one-stop-shop for translation.
Our translation management software centralizes content storage, provides a cloud-based platform for efficient collaboration, and gives businesses access to powerful administrative tools to help them manage the localization process from start to finish. Customers can also leverage our expert language services, which provide them with access to personalized project management assistance and seasoned translators from around the globe.
Well-known companies, including DoorDash, Shopify, InterContinental Hotels Group, British Airways, and WeWork, trust Smartling to help them produce native brand experiences and connect with customers worldwide.
What Is Memsource?
Memsource offers users a cloud-based translation platform. The company's software aims to make the translation process affordable and easier for businesses. Traditional computer-assisted translation features and machine translation options are available as well. However, many companies may find that the solution isn't as customizable or the features as robust as desired — especially as translation needs become more complex.
Smartling vs. Memsource vs. Legacy Tools
Over the last several years, there's been a shift in how companies store and interact with their data. More companies have moved their services to the cloud. Now, they're demanding that their vendors do the same. As a result, cloud-based translation management tools that aim to leverage cloud computing to streamline the translation process have started to multiply.
Unfortunately, it wouldn't be accurate to say that the days of passing files back and forth via email or FTP software are over — or the days of limited communication with project stakeholders and having to convert files to a format compatible with the translation tool. After all, several companies and language service providers (LSPs) still rely on legacy translation tools, which necessitate these cumbersome processes.
But businesses now have a choice.
Memsource and Smartling are part of a new generation of tools that have embraced the cloud. These tools make it easier to send files for translation, collaborate across different time zones, and automate translation efforts. They offer project management features (great for project managers) and computer-assisted translation features (great for translators), which help automate and bring more transparency to the process.
Plus, some tools, like both Memsource and Smartling, have incorporated artificial intelligence into their software. This provides users with benefits such as access to advanced machine translation tools, which may lower their translation costs.
But not all cloud-based translation management systems are the same. There are many notable differences between Smartling and Memsource (and other cloud-based providers). For example:
With Memsource: Users can set up and customize their workflows to an extent. Once a step is added, it cannot be removed. There are also limitations around which actions can be added later.
With Smartling: Users can create workflows that move content seamlessly from one step to the next. Steps can be added or deleted as translation needs evolve. Dynamic Workflows also give users the option to automatically route content to specific steps based on pre-specified criteria, such as fuzzy matching score, inactivity, file URI, or website URL.
With Memsource: 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 Weigh In: Smartling's TMS and Language Services Are an Unbeatable Combination
User experience is critical when choosing a translation partner, and there's no better way to evaluate user experience than to hear from current customers. Over 200 G2 users have spoken: they have ranked our translation management system number one.
Users love our easy-to-navigate, feature-rich UI, our software's customizability, and our platform's transparency. Our network of conscientious translators also sets us apart.
"The Smartling team is incredibly responsive and helpful. We partnered with Smartling as our localization platform for go-to-market in 8 European languages and have since enlisted their Language Services add-on to help meet SLAs of our CI/CD processes. The linguists that we've worked with are passionate and resourceful professionals who understand and put a lot of thought into product localization. The continuous feedback loop is extremely helpful, and responses to questions are always answered in a timely manner." — Jordanna B.
The Typical Cost of a TMS: Memsource vs. Smartling
Cloud-based translation management systems are usually subscription-based. The cost per month or year varies, but 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.
Memsource, for instance, offers four plans, with each one unlocking more features. Pricing is also determined by the number of users — for example, the advertised monthly rate is per project manager, and the number of free linguist accounts is limited. It's unclear whether Memsource can put businesses in touch with professional linguists. But when evaluating cost, companies will also want to factor in any per-word translation fees that would be charged on top of the TMS subscription.
Smartling, like Memsource, offers different ways to engage with the TMS. Our pricing is as simple as you can get, though. 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. No matter which plan you choose, there are no limits to the number of users you can add, and all linguists can access our platform for free.
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 Memsource?
Memsource offers a cloud-based platform with features that help automate the translation process and encourage efficient collaboration. But it doesn't provide the same level of customizability or functionality Smartling provides — which becomes increasingly important as your localization program evolves.
Among other benefits, Smartling's industry-leading platform allows you to:
- Customize workflows and use Dynamic Workflows to automate tasks and increase efficiency
- Send content for translation via a wide range of integrations without writing a single email or leaving familiar applications
- Leverage our network of fully vetted, expert linguists and bundle translation services with our robust TMS
What To Consider When Choosing a TMS: A Spotlight on Security
The switch to cloud-based translation tools is relatively recent. Even today, many companies rely on sending files via email or FTP software. But this approach is not only cumbersome but also leaves companies vulnerable from a data security perspective. Once files are sent to external linguists for translation, companies have no say in how their data is stored.
Fortunately, cloud-based software enables companies to efficiently and securely translate their content over the web. Content is stored in the cloud — no emails necessary. Moreover, any questions that arise during the translation process can be answered quickly, directly within a centralized platform.
Nevertheless, cloud services are still vulnerable to hacks and breaches. You must consider whether your translation partner will keep your data safe. When choosing a TMS, ask about their data security policies. Also, inquire about any specific compliance certifications they may hold. Smartling's enterprise-grade security infrastructure, for example, adheres to PCI, SOC 2, HIPAA, and GDPR standards. For our language services, we are also in compliance with ISO 17100 standards.
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.