How to Compare Translation Software

You have many different options at your disposal for your enterprise translation needs, so it’s important to know how to compare translation software. How can you make sure that you get the best solution for your company’s needs? When evaluating different alternatives, ask the following 10 questions to make sure that you get the best possible overall value for your business.

1. What are your options for handling web content?

Web content is growing in importance each day, and many companies have now provide all of their multilingual content online. Make sure the translation management system offers you multiple, flexible options for web content.  Even if your needs are simple right now, business needs can change quickly, and if you don’t have all of the options you need available for supporting web content, switching systems when your needs change later on can slow you down and end up costing far more than necessary. Make sure that the translation management system you choose offers you a minimum of the following: an enterprise-grade API, a translation proxy solution for websites, and connectors for major CMS tools.

2. How do you support mobile apps?

It’s no wonder that more businesses are developing mobile applications and localizing them. Mobile apps are a great way to reach global customers inexpensively and quickly.  In fact, many companies today are prioritizing mobile app localization even before they translate their websites. The translation management system you choose must support iOS and Android, and should be well-suited to agile localization, since mobile apps are updated continuously, and the translations must always be in sync.

3. Am I required to use your translation services?

If a translation and localization service provider offers you the technology for “free” if you purchase services from them, here’s the catch — you will usually end up paying more in the long run. Why?  Because the cost of the technology will be rolled into your translation service costs. But worse yet, you will be limited in your ability to choose the best quality translation providers, and you won’t retain full control over your content, processes, and quality.

4. How many different translation workflows do you support?

Every company’s content processes and translation needs are unique. If the translation management system you’re evaluating doesn’t give you unlimited translation workflow options, you will be stuck if your process ever changes, or if someone else at your organization wants to use the same system.

5. How often do you update the software?

The frequency of updates to the software tells you a great deal about the company’s commitment to best practices for software development. Look for a company that releases new code weekly, and ask if you can see a recent copy of their release notes. If the company only releases new versions yearly or quarterly, it is unlikely to adapt quickly enough to the fast-changing needs of its customers.

6. What percentage of your revenue comes from software?

Make sure that when you buy a translation software solution, that you’re buying it from a true software company. If the company makes less than half of its revenue from software, it is not a software company. If you decide to purchase software from a company that doesn’t specialize in developing software, you run the risk of not getting the support you need, and that the software may not evolve along with your changing needs.

7. What percentage of your staff works in non-linguistic, technical roles?

Technology requires teams who are technical. Ask the translation software provider about the size of the engineering team that works on the translation software, as well as the credentials of the people who work in customer service and professional services. Learning more about the types of roles in the company can help you ascertain the company’s overall degree of technology expertise.

8. Can I download my content anytime I want?

This may seem like a silly question, but believe it or not, some translation software products only include “captive” solutions that do not give you full and complete control over your content. Make sure that the software solution you choose will allow you to easily download your full translation memory files at the click of a button, anytime you wish. Why is this so important? Because, if you ever need to change technologies, you may end up losing valuable content assets that your business invested in.

9. How do I know that my content is secure?

Make sure that your software solution has the highest-level security certifications, including SOC-2, PCI-Level 1, and HIPAA. Some software companies offer just one of these, but your company deserves the highest level of security possible for your corporate content.

10. Can I talk with customers and translators who use your software?

Talking with customers to hear directly about their experience with the software is important. But remember, translation software isn’t just used by your staff. It’s also used by a network of translators (often freelancers), web developers, in-country partners, and others who are responsible for putting a good face forward for your business in another language. If you’re concerned with making sure you get the best possible translation quality, ask your translation software provider to put you in touch with translators who actually use the software, in addition to talking with enterprise clients.  A company that provides a good user experience to translators will not hesitate to connect you to translation agencies and freelance translators who can provide testimonials.