Most consumers prefer everything—content, product info and reviews, and customer support—in their own language. Translation is key to building relationships with those consumers and earning their business. Yet, managing the process manually via spreadsheets and endless back-and-forth emails with your translation vendor is far from ideal. You can avoid this and achieve better outcomes with translation management software.
Choosing the right translation management software
Some of the top things you should look for in a translation solution include the following:
- Scalability: Choose software that will work as your brand grows, produces more content, or expands its translation and localization efforts.
- Guaranteed quality: Look for a provider with a consistently high level of language quality at source.
- Automation: A good translation management system (TMS) will take as many manual project management tasks as possible off your plate. Smartling customers automate as much as 90% of their translation projects.
- Integrations: Make sure any software you’re considering plays nice with other tools your team uses to keep workflows streamlined.
- Security: Investigate what personal information and sensitive data are collected by your potential TMS, as well as how it’s used and protected.
It’s also wise to go with a translation company that offers both software and translation services. If you do, you’ll be able to move that much quicker when human translations are necessary for quality assurance. You can also strike a good balance between cost, quality, and speed with machine translation post-editing. By optimizing your translation mix in this way, you’ll not only save money but also maintain high translation quality.
The best translation management software for 2023
Here’s an overview of 11 software options and how they compare.
Smartling’s translation management system is the preferred solution of hundreds of companies, including global brands like Samsung and Canva. Without compromising quality, they’ve accelerated time to market by as much as 50% and slashed translation costs by up to 70%. For this reason, customers named Smartling the #1 software for enterprise translation management on G2 for 15 consecutive quarters!
- Neural Machine Translation Hub (NMT): Smartling’s NMT Hub uses AI to select the machine translation engine that will give you the highest quality translation results. Available MT engines include DeepL, Google Translate, SYSTRAN, Amazon Translate, and others. All the above produce quality translations in milliseconds and at a fraction of the cost of human translation.
- Smartling Translate: Instantly translate text and files via our revolutionary GPT-enabled portal. There’s no configuration or user training required, and the translation environment is totally private and secure. The best MT engine is auto-selected, instantly producing quality machine translations that respect your brand voice, style, and terminology.
- Global Delivery Network (GDN): Use this translation proxy to automatically deliver localized versions of your website or app to international visitors with little to no dev involvement.
- Computer-assisted translation (CAT) tool: Preview how your translated content will appear when live.
- Smartling has all the features you’d expect from a TMS and then some. These include centralized linguistic assets, dynamic workflows, analytics, and workflow automation functionality.
- While most alternatives have limitations, Smartling supports unlimited language pairs.
- You can integrate Smartling with other tools in your tech stack via the 30+ pre-built integrations or using the application programming interface (API).
- Besides our software, you can also optimize your translation mix by taking advantage of Smartling’s best-in-class translation services.
- Because it's an end-to-end solution, our software can have a slightly steeper learning curve than the many less robust alternatives.
- While not unreasonably priced, Smartling is also not the cheapest TMS, as it’s one of the most comprehensive, reliable solutions
MemoQ’s scalable, web-based TMS can be used by small, growing, or enterprise teams. It features translation memory, Linguistic Quality Assurance models, customizable reports, and many features found in similar software.
- LiveDocs: Preserve whole translated documents for future reference (similar to the way translation memory preserves translated segments).
- Qterm: Allow anyone in your organization to access the terminology in your term bases.
- Machine translation plugins: Leverage built-in MT plugins or develop custom ones.
- Each project manager license comes with five web licenses so you can collaborate with others on your team.
- MemoQ can be used by individuals, small businesses, as well as enterprise and sizable location teams.
- An on-premise version is available.
- The user interface is not as intuitive or easy to navigate as some alternatives.
- (Source: Capterra)
- Users have had issues working with certain file formats in MemoQ. (Source: Capterra)
Cloud-based software Crowdin helps tech companies translate written content, websites and apps, games, and so on. It has the usual features, including translation memory, a glossary, screenshots, and a visual editor.
- Voting: Allow native speakers and other collaborators to choose the best translations from several options.
- Automated quality assurance: Crowdin manages punctuation, placeholders, translation length, and more so you don’t have to.
- Issues: Flag problems such as missing context and incorrect or irrelevant translations.
- You can differentiate between public or private projects to control access to your translations.
- There are over 500 Crowdin integrations and plugins available.
- Although you can bring your own translators, Crowdin also has a vendor marketplace.
- The user interface is unnecessarily complex according to several users. (Source: Capterra, G2)
- Some features like the maximum number of integrations per plan may be too restrictive.
Lokalise is another option. The company positions its software as an all-in-one translation management platform. It has automation capabilities, built-in quality assurance tools, features for collaboration, integrations, and so on.
- Chained tasks: Start new translation tasks automatically when the preceding ones are complete.
- Branching: Revisit previous versions of a translation and merge them with newer iterations.
- Review Center: Gather feedback on contextual translations from your wider team.
- Users have commented on the ease of collaborating and onboarding new collaborators, including translators.
- You can create your own statuses and automate status management for a more custom and efficient workflow.
- Lokalise has over 50 pre-built integrations available.
- Users would like more advanced search functionality. (Source: G2)
- The help documentation needs improvement, especially for users who are onboarding. (Source: G2)
Another platform for digital content and software localization is Transifex. With it, you can translate and localize web, mobile, and interactive apps, along with self-service support content, video subtitles, and more.
- Customizable workflows: Define the translation process that works best for your team.
- Announcements: Share and discuss organization-wide and project-level updates.
- Translation checks: Get a list of warnings and errors for each translation.
- Machine translation is available on all plans.
- You can create cross-functional teams and assign them to different translation projects and languages as necessary.
- Pricing—at least for the Basic and Premium plans—is more affordable than some alternatives.
- Transifex’s software can be sluggish. (Source: Capterra)
- The company has fewer integrations than some alternatives, several of which are add-ons even on the higher-tier plans.
Both business and freelance translators use Smartcat to translate a variety of assets. These include files, websites, software, video design elements, and e-learning files.
- Smartwords: Reuse as much as 80% of your existing, high-quality translations.
- Synced linguistic assets: All team members will have access to your up-to-date glossaries, translation memories, etc.
- Segment-locking: Keep team members from editing others’ work on specific segments until it’s completed.
- You can translate content into over 280 languages with Smartcat.
- All plans include an unlimited number of users, languages, and projects.
- You can hire freelance translators via Smartcat’s linguist marketplace if necessary.
- There is no find-and-replace feature, forcing users to manually apply repetitive changes across each segment. (Source: G2)
- There have been some reports of slow or otherwise unhelpful customer support. (Source: Capterra, G2)
Phrase (formerly Memsource)
Like other solutions we’ve covered, Phrase has a range of features for balancing translation quality with cost and speed. It allows the automation of translation workflows and machine translation via automatically-selected MT engines. It also provides data on translation cost, volume, quality, and other metrics.
- Automated translation workflows: Set advanced automations to reduce turnaround times.
- AI and machine translation: Translate content automatically using the best machine translation engine for the task.
- CAT tool: Do real-time terminology checks and see in-context previews.
- Phrase’s TMS is more user-friendly and requires less technical knowledge than other software like GlobalLink.
- There’s a web editor and a full-featured desktop editor with offline mode.
- All plans have access to 24/7 support.
- Phrase Translate (for machine translation) and Phrase Analytics are add-ons not included in the TMS by default.
- Several users say doing quality assurance in Phrase is time-consuming due to false positives and other issues. (Source: G2)
Localize is a translation solution for Saas platforms. It’s mainly for translating websites and web apps, including user interface copy, help documentation, status pages, and so on. However, it can also translate emails, documents, subtitles, and mobile apps.
- Automatic content detection: This software pulls new or updated content from your website and web app for translation as it's detected.
- In-context editor: Add, preview, and manage translations visually in real time.
- SEO content management: Increase the online visibility of your content in new markets.
- Localize works with any platform—WordPress included.
- You can do image and audio localization with this software.
- This software is both developer-friendly and no-code in case you don’t have developers on hand.
- Localize is expensive according to several users, particularly when adding different languages. (Source: G2)
- The maximum number of users per plan may be too low for some.
Next is Pairaphrase—another web-based TMS. This software is mainly for enterprises. It includes many of the features of alternatives, including translation memory, an integrated spellchecker, and a translation editor.
- File Translator: Batch translate multiple files and file types.
- Automatic file formatting: Translated files retain their original format, along with much of the original layout, fonts, imagery, and other elements.
- Speech and voiceover translation: Upload a script via a text file and get an MP3 or WAV voiceover in return.
- Pairaphrase features enterprise-level security, including encryption and multi-factor authentication.
- You can translate files in bulk into over 100 languages.
- If you want to integrate Pairaphrase’s TMS with your website or apps, there’s an API available.
- Pairaphrase is optimized mainly for Microsoft Office files, so results may not be as good when translating files in the other 20+ available formats.
- Users have reported issues with spacing that affect translation quality. (Source: Capterra)
Weglot’s software is used mainly by small businesses and some mid-market companies. Its focus is helping you translate your website into any of the 100+ available languages using machine translation.
- No-code install: Integrate Weglot with your website without the help of a developer.
- Automatic content detection: New content added to your website is automatically translated and displayed under the appropriate subdomains or subdirectories.
- Multilingual SEO: Weglot follows best practices related to translated metadata, hreflang tags, language-specific URLs, and more.
- This software is quick and easy to set up and use, partially because it has fewer capabilities than most other software here.
- Users appreciate the helpfulness of the customer support team.
- Weglot’s lower-tier plans are cheap, which is one reason it’s popular among small businesses.
- Users have commented on the lack of documentation on customizing Weglot’s user interface, modifying CSS, or integrating 3rd party applications. (Source: G2)
- Large price gaps for the higher-tier plans and the per-plan limits on translated languages have caused friction for some customers. (Source: G2)
TransPerfect is the company behind GlobalLink’s technology. GlobalLink offers solutions for website, software, and mobile localization in seven industries, from retail and ecommerce to industrial and manufacturing.
- Machine translation: Translate content at high speed.
- In-country review portal: Streamline your review process to ensure that all translations are compliant and in context.
- Subtitling and voiceovers: Translate your words with the help of data-driven AI technology.
- GlobalLink’s software is robust, making it suitable for mid-market and enterprise companies.
- This TMS has over 50 pre-built integrations with various platforms, including content management systems, marketing automation, and ecommerce.
- Users have mentioned the responsiveness of the customer service team. (Source: G2)
- The user interface can be confusing for new GlobalLink or translation software users. (Source: G2)
- GlobalLink sometimes loads slowly, especially for larger translation projects. (Source: Capterra)
Optimize your workflow with a best-in-class translation management system With the right software, you can reduce your time to market and translation costs. Additionally, you’ll be able to deliver quality translations that educate, delight, and convert your audience—no matter what languages they speak.