Does your business have a translation management system (TMS) in place? Do you know what a TMS is and how it can help manage your translation tasks? If not, here are some ideas.

Definition of a translation management system

A translation management system is a programme that supports a varied and sophisticated series of translation tasks that might be assigned to an in house translation team or professional translation services. A TMS is usually used by medium to large businesses with a lot of international connections. All multinational organisations will have a translation management system in place as a matter of necessity. A well functioning TMS may involve a multi-person team, which may be located in several different countries.

Main features of a TMS

1. Managing translation memory

A good TMS will organise and expand its translation memory capabilities. Translation memory maintains a data bank of words, phrases and sentences which are commonly used and their translated equivalents. A high volume translation environment will benefit in terms of speed of translation with a well developed translation memory capability.

2. Managing terminology

This is a parallel management tool to translation memory but focuses on terminology and branding. The aim is to maintain consistency in terminology and branding with each of the languages used and in each region where the business has a presence. It is important that a professional translation service is contracted to provide translation task that they are fully aware of terminology and branding requirements.

3. Managing workflow

This is all about managing communication and work processes across different team members. This helps to speed up translation tasks and make them less expensive and more efficient. Much of the translation tasks can be actually automated, so if new content is generated, for a web page, for example, the TMS can handle and process it swiftly.

4. Managing machine translation

Machine translation (MT) is evolving and improving, but may not be part of your own translation management system as yet. However, as MT gets better, you may want to include and incorporate it at a later stage.

5. Managing reporting

Your TMS can help to monitor and report on translation tasks, how much they have cost, what they might cost, what tasks are in the process of being completed, which tasks have been completed. The TMS should be able to provide a centrally managed data retrieval and reporting system which allows those in charge know what is going on at any point in time.

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