What is a Translation Management System (TMS)?

About TMSs

Translation management systems are systems designed to support complex translation tasks. Most translation projects require more than one translator, and it is very likely that they all work from different places or even different countries. TMSs help run translation projects smoothly, as if all participants worked in the same office.

Translation management systems and content management systems are two different things: while content management deals with business processes and software for capturing, saving, managing, and distributing documents, images, and other data, translation management involves project management, workflow management, handles translation memory (TM) and translation tools, and stores data about translation resources.

Here are the main features of translation management systems:

  • Workflow management: Workflow management involves managing documents, automation, and communication. Some TMS systems forget the latter, reducing their services to management without any real means of cooperation.
  • Translation memory management: It is the management of previously translated segments collectively called a translation memory. Translation memories are most useful when dealing with repetitive segments (sentences), but can also help with similar segments by providing references. This technology is not new, but what a translation management system adds to it is automated management, allowing synchronization of translation memories located on the computers of different translators.
  • Terminology management: As with translation memories, a translation management system manages automated synchronization of these, so that translators from different parts of the world can work with the same updated terminology.
  • Reporting: Reporting helps keep track of how things are going, how much has been already translated, how much money has been spent, etc. TMSs collect this data in one place for your convenience.
  • Machine translation: Although this is not an acceptable form of translation (for now), it can still be useful for various reasons. You may not need this type of translation at all, but it’s free, so it’s there if anyone wishes to use it.


It’s worth mentioning that even though some software localization solutions (such as SDL Passolo) are beyond the scope of the forementioned systems, these highly-specialized linguistic tools will eventually be incorporated in translation management systems. Such is the trend in the translation industry.

The Smartcat TMS

Smartcat has developed its own translation management system. Although many of its features — like team management, cost calculation, payment automation, and various administrative processes — were in the system all along, they were scattered around and some were not even accessible by everyone. Now, everything is in the same place and with added functionalities:

  • Translators invited by you, as well as translators you saved while browsing the marketplace, are now shown on the same page.
  • Filtering your translators by language pairs, rates, fields of expertise, etc.
  • Automatic cost calculation utilizing set rates and translation memory matches.
  • Transparent calculations: nobody has to check if cost calculations presented by either side are correct anymore — Smartcat does it for you now.
  • Smartcat payment system: one transaction to pay all of your workers simultaneously, and they choose how they want to withdraw their money.

Interface:

Personal workspace:

This is your home page in Smartcat and only you can access it. Here, a translator will find all tasks assigned to them. In the My Payouts section, you can find payment information, provided your client is paying you via Smartcat. To access it, click on your name or photo.

Corporate workspace:

This is accessible only by members of the company, by clicking on the company name. You can also work for several companies in Smartcat. In the People section, you can add translators (both in-house and remote). The Payment section is where payments are managed and you can even pay people for jobs done outside of Smartcat. It now also shows automatically calculated costs.

Last but not least, confidentiality. Smartcat’s translation management platform does not share your data with anybody in any way. Your translation memories, terminology, financial details — everything is safe and secure within the system.