Smartling vs. Phrase

Localization projects typically have many moving parts. Even straightforward projects can very quickly become complicated — especially if you are new to the translation process, have to meet tight turnarounds, or plan to translate your content into several languages.

Translation management systems (TMSs) help project managers organize and store translated content, automate routine tasks, and ultimately accelerate the translation process. In addition, many TMSs offer computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools, which help the translators deliver higher-quality work faster while keeping the entire process within one platform.

However, it's not easy to pick the right TMS for your business. If you're trying to decide between Smartling and Phrase or are 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, Vimeo, Yext, DAZN, and Dashlane, trust Smartling to help them produce native brand experiences and connect with customers worldwide.

What Is Phrase?

Phrase is a software localization platform that aims to simplify the translation process. It offers features and integrations geared toward software developers, but it also supplies translators, localization managers, and localization engineers with tools that help streamline their experience. The platform, for example, gives translators access to traditional computer-assisted translation features, such as translation memories, glossaries, and QA checks. However, many companies may find that the solution falls short as an end-to-end solution, especially as their translation needs evolve past software localization.

Smartling vs. Phrase vs. Legacy Tools

Several companies and language service providers (LSPs) rely on legacy tools when localizing their software products for translation. Developers and localization engineers spend hours copying and pasting strings into spreadsheets for translation. They then send these files to the linguists via email — which means the translators are almost always asked to do their work without context.

It’s a drain on everyone’s time and energy, and it opens the software localization process up to human errors.

Phrase and Smartling are both cloud-based TMSs that make the translation process easier for all involved. Integrations that connect with your existing tech stack, in-context translation tools, and automated QA checks help streamline the process.

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

  • With Phrase: Developers can manage translation projects within familiar environments via Phrase’s API and several connectors and integrations.

  • With Smartling: Smartling offers a wide range of connectors and 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 Phrase: Users who opt for the Advanced or Enterprise plan can work within two main workflow configurations.

  • With Smartling: Users can customize their workflows to have as many or as few steps as needed. 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.

Users Weigh In: Smartling’s TMS Is Ranked #1

Localization is a significant investment. So when choosing a TMS and translation partner, you don’t want to have to wonder if they’ll live up to their promises. It’s essential to look for a company that has a proven track record of success.

Smartling’s TMS has been consistently ranked number one on G2 by actual customers. In particular, users love our feature-rich platform and the variety of connectors, which make the translation process seamless — as it should be. They also love that we are just as committed to providing our translators with in-demand features that make their job easier, such as in-content translation. Finally, our commitment to providing stellar customer service continues to impress.

“Smartling platform allows a lot of flexibility with various existing and customizable connectors via API. In-context translation allows better translation quality and support for the linguists. Smartling team is always willing to go above and beyond to customize their setup and project tracking through extensive platform features. Love the variety of data and reports, easy to pull and understand." — Alex A.

The Typical Cost of a TMS: Phrase 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.

Phrase, for instance, offers three plans, with the number of features and functionality increasing as you go up the pricing ladder. The most economical plan may get a user familiar with Phrase’s interface. But with only basic integrations available, no glossary or translation memory, and a cap on the number of users, many companies will quickly find they must move up the plan tiers to take advantage of the tools offered.

There is a partner network that language service providers (LSPs) can join — and businesses who need professional linguists can order translations and discuss other language services with those partners. So 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 Phrase, offers a couple of different ways to engage with the TMS. Our Growth plan offers businesses a robust platform equipped with everything needed to produce high-quality work on a deadline — including a variety of integrations and a sophisticated CAT tool. 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 Phrase?

Phrase offers a cloud-based software localization platform with features that help automate the translation process for software developers. It also has tools that project managers and translators will find helpful. But users with more complex or varied translation needs may find that Phrase doesn't provide the same level of functionality that Smartling provides.

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

  • Be as hands-on or hands-off as you'd like. Leveraging Smartling's Managed Services means you can leave the day-to-day localization tasks to us.
  • Lean on expert project managers to navigate the translation process and connect you with our network of fully vetted, professional linguists.
  • Bundle software and language services together to get steep discounts and simplify the billing process — you receive just a single monthly bill.
  • 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 simply 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 their localization program by translating a few marketing materials or their website. But those needs quickly 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 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 to get started.