What are Translation Management Systems?

Translation Management Systems have two main components. These are business process management technology to automate the administration of translation and linguistic technology to maximise translation automation, consistency of quality and boost translator productivity.

Together they enable a continuous flow of translation in a structured, scalable, auditable and automated way, ensuring efficient communication and publication in multiple languages.

Business Process Management

At a minimum this involves a project management tool used to define workflows, manage the assignment of translation work to translators and reviewers, and to import and export documents and their translations between systems, such as content management systems.

An enterprise class business process management tool may include customer relationship management, vendor management & human resources, as well as financial management and administrative functionality.

Linguistic Technology

Linguistic technology generally includes translation memories and terminology databases (language assets), and may also integrate machine translation. Translation memories and terminology glossaries are component technologies found in Computer Aided Translation tools (CAT tools). CAT tools are essentially the workbenches where translators and reviewers do their work and leverage linguistic technology.

In the context of our clients, CAT tools are either connected to central servers or web-based tools connected to the cloud. This means everyone with access rights is able to leverage the same centralised language assets (databases of previous translations/approved terms).

Translation Memory

Translation memories are databases of all previously translated sentences for an organization. While a translator performs translation, he or she is prompted in the workbench of the CAT tool to consider similar or exact matches of sentences that have already been translated and are now found in the memory/database. He or she now only needs to edit that sentence or may not need to translate any part of the sentence. The result is significantly improved speed and consistency of translation quality.

Terminology databases

A terminology database is a glossary that contains specific words and phrases and their context-specific translations. These databases help ensure a uniform brand voice and clear, consistent use of terminology.

Machine Translation

A machine translation system (MT) is a program that uses natural language processing technology to automatically translate a text from one language to another. The results of MT can be presented to translators along with translation memory proposals in a CAT tool.

Combining business process management and linguistic technology enables organizations operating in multiple languages to work effectively at scale, with flexibility and efficiency.