Translation Management Software 101: What is a TMS & How to Choose?

What is translation management software (TMS)? What solutions are available and how can you choose the right one? These questions and more answered here.


What Is Translation Management Software?

Translation management software is a kind of software designed to manage translation and localization of language assets. Also referred to as a translation management system, this kind of software facilitates translation management at scale.

When a business needs to translate a high volume of assets to many different languages and regional dialects, the project becomes complex very quickly. Translation management software helps organize language assets and provides collaboration tools for all parties. Beyond just issuing simple translations for text, translation management software includes features to maintain brand vision and identity by making sure content is contextualized. Much of the translation that’s performed with translation management software is done so automatically, and then reviewed and revised by native speakers.

Should I Use a Translation Management Software?

If you aren’t using a software, translation management typically happens by breaking content into strings (sections of text) and emailing back and forth to translation providers. For small projects this can be ok, but when the scale of your project outgrows the spreadsheet method, it’s time to consider a software.

Benefits of Translation Management Software


The challenge with content management is that the more you write, the more you have to translate. Project managing translation becomes more of a burden when languages are added or the content volume increases. Translation management software eliminates the need for people to be involved in the process of project managing translation, or at least removes the need for people to copy and paste strings from a repository and into a spreadsheet, which is traditionally emailed to a vendor. Instead, translation management software automates the entire process surrounding human translation, enabling scalability for companies no matter the number of languages, volume of content, or complexity of the work at hand.


Many software providers have integrations for common CMS platforms. An enterprise translation management software like Smartling, for example, can integrate with content management systems, eCommerce platforms, customer support portals, and more. This full stack integration makes deploying your translated content to the right places seamless.

Simple and Collaborative

Translation management software allows you to configure custom interdepartmental workflows and automation. You can monitor translation progress in real time, and notify users when translations are complete.

Brand Loyal

Some systems allow upload of brand tone and guidelines so that all translators on the project have consistent guidance on how to make your brand sound the same in every region.

Translation management software prioritizes high value content.

Enterprise solutions have built in analytics and reporting allows you to see the direct ROI impact of localization efforts.

Kinds of Translation Management Software / How to Choose

Translation management software varies in complexity from provider to provider. Some less expensive translation management softwares offer DIY or plug-and-play localization solutions, where submitted text is translated automatically using an API. At the higher end of the spectrum, enterprise grade systems offer custom, scalable features for large localization projects.

The type of translation management software you choose depends on a few things:

  • The volume of assets that need to be translated
  • The number of languages and regions that need to be represented
  • The number of platforms that require localization (i.e. app, website, support portal)
  • The number of parties involved in the localization project
  • Requirements regarding brand tone and style

Generally, if the volume of assets and locations is modest, a lower tier solution may be appropriate. For projects with high volumes of assets, many different regions / locations, multiple parties involved, and strict brand guidelines, an enterprise translation management solution could be justified.

About Smartling

Smartling’s enterprise translation management software has a suite of tools to help you accomplish your localization goals. Our translation management software has native integrations available for the most popular content management systems, eCommerce platforms, support portals, marketing hubs, and code repositories to make localization across all of your assets effortless. We have a team of talented translators all across the world, so we can provide accurate localization of your linguistic assets in any language.

Ready to learn more? Contact us to get started.