For brands that want to move into new markets, having a solid localization strategy is a must. But localization projects can get complicated fast. That's why businesses enlist the help of language service providers (LSPs) and translation management systems (TMSs).
Language service providers (LSPs) supply the know-how. They connect you with qualified personnel to ensure your content will resonate with your target audience. Translation management systems (TMSs) make managing the whole process easier. They automate tasks, streamline workflows, facilitate collaboration, and improve translation quality.
But with so many options, deciding on the right translation partner can be tricky. If you're here because you're choosing between Smartling and Translations.com or are looking for an alternative, this page will help you understand which solution is best for your business.
What Is Smartling?
Smartling combines market-leading 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 the extensive industry knowledge and can help provide native brand experiences for global audiences.
What Is Translations.com?
Translations.com is a language service provider within the TransPerfect family of companies. It offers translation services and several products that aim to make the translation process easier for companies. But their offerings lack the technological agility and transparency many companies are looking for as they scale their localization efforts.
Smartling vs. Translations.com vs. Legacy Tools
For many, the standard translation workflow is still relatively manual. Many companies consider it normal to spend hours copying content over to spreadsheets and emailing those to LSPs. Those LSPs then send the files to translators that the company will rarely — if ever — speak to directly. Moreover, it’s typical for translators to work without context using outdated or incomplete linguistic assets.
For small translation projects, you might be able to get away with this. Your internal teams will spend the extra time required to prepare the files for translation, and your translators might be able to muddle through to produce decent translations that allow you to get by in a new market.
But the margin for error is high. More to the point, why risk having any of your global outreach efforts fall flat when there’s a better, more efficient way — one that helps you not just “get by” in a new market but flourish?
Some companies, including Translations.com and Smartling, have created tools that make the translation process easier.
For example, both Translations.com and Smartling offer a translation management system that automates manual processes, leverages previous translations, and helps you manage the process better. Further, both companies offer you access to a large pool of professional translators who can translate your content.
There are, however, several differences between Smartling and Translations.com (and legacy providers) when it comes to delivering the seamless experience businesses need to truly take their translations to the next level. For example:
With Translations.com: Customers can track estimates and costs. They also have access to select quality scoring and reporting features.
With Smartling: Smartling’s data-driven approach puts companies in the driver’s seat. In addition to receiving cost estimates, customers can see how much time content spends in each step of the translation workflow and how much value each step provides. Smartling also generates a personalized Quality Confidence Score™ that gives customers a real-time view of translation quality.
With Translations.com: Customers can use their own translation team or have Translations.com operate as a traditional LSP and source linguists from the TransPerfect network.
With Smartling: Customers are welcome to use their own translators, but they also can leverage Smartling’s language services. Expert project managers guide customers through the translation process and connect them with a network of fully vetted, professional linguists. Customers have complete visibility into the translation team and direct access to share feedback.
Our Customers Have Spoken: Smartling Is Ranked #1 TMS on G2
When deciding between translation management providers, talk only goes so far. It’s essential to check out what customers are saying so that you can choose a translation partner that has proven itself time and time again.
G2 users have consistently chosen Smartling as their translation partner. They love our easy-to-navigate UI, praise our feature-rich TMS, and value our transparency and customizability. Finally, our stellar customer service ensures users can fully leverage our offering.
But don’t just take our word for it. With over 200+ reviews, it’s easy to see for yourself why G2 users have ranked Smartling number one.
“I’m managing the product localization team, handling over 30 languages in the platform. Smartling is the best tool for managing massive translation projects and also for translating the contents in the most efficient way. Most recommended!” — Takanori K, Team Lead
The Typical Cost of a TMS: Translations.com vs. Smartling
Translation management systems, especially cloud-based ones, are usually licensed on a subscription basis. Prices vary and are often determined by the features you need.
Translation fees, priced per word and depend on the target language, are typically charged separately. Keep in mind that many LSPs charge minimum word fees and sometimes even processing or engineering fees.
Translations.com offers several products that can be licensed separately or integrated with others to form a more comprehensive offering. The company’s translation services would then be charged based on your specific needs.
Smartling offers customers a complete end-to-end solution. We offer two different ways to engage with our TMS. But both plans give customers access to a robust, fully integrated platform equipped with everything needed to produce high-quality work on a deadline. So it’s easy for businesses of all sizes to achieve their translation goals no matter where they are in their localization journey.
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 Translations.com?
Translations.com offers several useful tools. It recognizes the value of features that leverage technology and encourage efficiency. It also has an extensive network of professional translators and provides many language services. But the company remains an LSP first and a tech company second. As a result, it often falls short for those businesses that need a more agile yet approachable product offering.
In contrast, Smartling has been a tech-first company from the beginning. Customers have access to best-in-class tools that incorporate the latest in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and analytics to streamline translation workflows and supply linguists with everything they need. User feedback is highly valued and incorporated into regular product updates.
Among other benefits, Smartling's industry-leading platform allows you to:
- Easily scale up as your business grows and your localization program matures.
- Diversify your translation needs by leveraging a variety of integrations while keeping your brand assets and content organized.
- Bundle software with language services 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 an LSP
Language service providers (LSPs) vary in the languages and services they offer and in the quality of their personnel. Choosing the wrong LSP can delay or even stall your expansion into new markets. The right LSP, on the other hand, will work with you to maximize your ROI. Consider the following when choosing which LSP to partner with:
- Whether the LSP offers services in the markets and languages you’re focused on now — and the ones you plan to focus on in the future
- Whether the LSP has experience working with your specific industry and with the types of content you’d like translated
- Whether the LSP vets their translators and how they evaluate work on an ongoing basis
- Whether the LSP’s approach to pricing strikes a balance between cost and quality
- Whether the LSP has a “can do” attitude — that is, whether they’ll offer realistic, flexible solutions that work with your timelines and budget
Partnering with experts and investing in the right tools is crucial when you want to connect with customers worldwide. Ready to learn more about how you can supercharge your global content strategy? Download our sample translation RFP and contact us to get started.