Translation Management Systems (TMS) are computer applications designed to help users manage the translation business process more efficiently. These tools go beyond the automation of the translation process in CAT tools by including automation of invoicing, workflow, collaboration and profiling of customers and collaborators. We suggest the following topics for discussion:

Customization and workflow management

One of the most frustrating things with the translation and localization industry is the wide variety of project and file types that can be thrown at you by clients. Being downstream suppliers to a wide range of client industries means you have to be adept at managing these different workflows. This makes using a commercial TMS frustrating as often they lack the flexibility to be truly customizable to these different requirements. What can TMS makers do to help make their systems more flexible?

Integration with Content Management Systems (CMS)

Integration with CMS is still one of the biggest headaches for TMS users. Many TMS now offer limited interoperability with other systems and some have dedicated CMS connectors, however it is still an expensive and complicated business to achieve true automation with end-client systems. GALA has started the Translation API Class and Cases Initiative (TAPICC) ( which might help by coming up with a standardized framework for API integrations. But what else can TMS makers do to help users?

Licensing models

Licensing for most TMS products, traditionally, has been complex calculation based on number of users and features plus setup, training, maintenance and update charges. This was inline with traditional software pricing models. SaaS systems with flat monthly charges per user have helped to flatten this cost but over time the cost of all these systems can add up. How do users calculate the ROI on TMS use? Are there other models to follow?


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Security & data integrity

Everyone is becoming more aware of data security especially as it applies to web-based and cloud systems. Many LSPs are now being asked data security questions by their clients and on RFPs. For smaller LSPs these requirements can be difficult to meet especially when using a Saas TMS. What security levels should we expect TMS makers meet especially in SaaS deployments. Should we expect they conform to ISO 27001, SSAE 18/SOC 1/SOC 2, HIPAA standards?

Translation resource management

Resource/Vendor Management has seen its profile rise in recent years within the translation industry. Not that many years ago only the largest organizations had dedicated translation vendor managers to manage recruitment and monitor performance of translators and other linguistic partners. However most commercial TMS still have relatively weak functions in these areas. Should users demand more robust vendor registration, rating and evaluating functions in their TMS?

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