A business may have a solid product or service to offer customers. But without an equally solid localization strategy, that same business will struggle to break into new markets. But localization projects can get complicated, especially for those unfamiliar with the process or who need to translate into several different languages. Tight deadlines and a need to stay on a specific budget mean there's little room for error.
Enter translation management systems (TMSs). TMSs help businesses 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 process within one platform.
However, it's not easy to pick the right TMS for your business. If you're deciding between Smartling and XTM 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 Wix.com, Vimeo, Yext, DAZN, and Dashlane, trust Smartling to help them produce native brand experiences and connect with customers worldwide.
What Is XTM?
XTM is a cloud-based translation management platform that aims to simplify the translation process. The TMS, for example, helps project managers create workflows and assign linguists to tasks so that content moves through the system. Translators also have access to traditional computer-assisted translation features, such as translation memories, glossaries, and QA checks. However, companies looking for a true end-to-end solution and full-service translation partner may not find this TMS to be the best fit.
Smartling vs. XTM vs. Legacy Tools
Several companies and LSPs still rely on legacy tools to complete localization projects. Project managers, developers, and localization engineers often spend hours copying and pasting strings into spreadsheets or text files for translation. They email these files to the linguists, who attempt to translate the content — almost always without proper context. Communication is usually sporadic, and work is siloed.
A few companies, however, have sought to change this. Both XTM and Smartling, for example, are cloud-based TMSs that make the translation process easier for all involved. Integrations that connect with your existing tech stack, workflow management features, in-platform messaging options, and in-context translation tools help streamline the process.
But not all cloud-based translation management systems are the same. There are many notable differences between Smartling and XTM (and other cloud-based providers). For example:
With XTM: Customers can manage many translation projects from within familiar environments with the help of several connectors.
With Smartling: Smartling has dozens of connectors and integrations that bring translation seamlessly into your existing workflows. But we don’t stop there. Our powerful Global Delivery Network translation proxy enables you to efficiently deploy multilingual websites with almost zero IT involvement.
With XTM: Translators have access to standard CAT tool features, including translation memories, glossaries, and QA checks. Visual context is also available for some file types.
With Smartling: Translators can leverage a powerful CAT tool from directly within the Smartling platform. Visual context is automatically captured and surfaced. Moreover, linguists can easily refer to your glossaries, style guides, and translation memories when translating and use automated quality checks before submitting their work. Finally, Smartling generates a personalized Quality Confidence Score™ that gives customers a real-time view of translation quality.
Users Weigh In: Smartling’s TMS Is Ranked #1
Part of having a solid localization strategy is ensuring you have the right tools to make your project a success. So when choosing a TMS and translation partner, it's important to look to customer reviews to make an informed decision.
G2 users have consistently given Smartling high marks, ranking our TMS number one repeatedly. Users love our feature-rich, customizable platform and the variety of connectors that make the translation process seamless. In addition, they love that we provide translators with various tools and features specifically geared to make their job easier, such as in-context translation. Finally, our language services offering and overall stellar customer service also set us apart from the rest.
“Over the last year, we have been able to unify all of our localization efforts (across our enterprise) on the Smartling platform. What drew us to Smartling initially (in comparison to other TMS options) was its ease of use, extensibility, as well as the options of engaging them for translation services, and the potential of harnessing their Global Delivery Network solution. Thus far, from a functional perspective, the platform has delivered, and we have successfully positioned ourselves to scale as we grow and enter new markets. Additionally, their customer service is tremendous. Our assigned team is responsive, thoughtful, and has consistently demonstrated a vested interest in our success.” — G2 User
The Typical Cost of a TMS: XTM 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.
XTM, for instance, offers three main pricing plans. The most economical plans seem intended for linguists or small teams. Most companies will quickly find they must use the enterprise plan to take advantage of the tools offered. But even still, there are constraints on how many users can connect simultaneously. Finally, when evaluating cost, companies will also want to factor in any per-word translation fees from third-party vendors that would be charged on top of the TMS subscription.
Smartling, like XTM, 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 various 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 XTM?
XTM offers a cloud-based platform with features that help automate the translation process. But users, especially those with complex or varied translation needs, may find that XTM doesn't provide as seamless of an experience as Smartling does nor the same level of functionality.
Among other benefits, Smartling's industry-leading platform allows you to:
- Create workflows with as many or as few steps as you’d like and even leverage dynamic workflows to automate tasks and increase efficiency.
- Leverage the expertise of our project managers from the start of a project to completion and beyond. Tap into 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 complies 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 solid localization strategy is one that can easily fit into your company’s existing workflows and processes. So when choosing a TMS, it’s essential to consider how this new software will work with the rest of your tech stack — and not just as it relates to your most immediate translation needs.
It’s common for businesses to dip their toes into localization slowly. They may start by translating a few marketing materials, their website, or their support content. But the more your global audience grows, the more content you need to localize. You’ll want to choose a TMS that can easily integrate with all of your content repositories.
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 today.