What is a Translation Management System (TMS)?

Aug 22, 2022

A translation management system (TMS) is a type of software for automating the human language translation process. TMS are designed to support and coordinate translation projects. This includes project management, workflow management, translation memory (TM) management, invoicing, data storage and other various features to assist project managers, translators, and enterprises. The idea of a TMS is to automate all repeatable and non-essential work that can be done, leaving only the creative work of translation and review to be done by the translators. When translating a large amount of content, it becomes difficult to manage the many different languages and dialects. A TMS helps businesses organize and manage translations allowing all parties to work collaboratively. A TMS helps coordinate and streamline translation projects to all participants as if they are working together in the same office. It allows enterprises to centralize the management of localization workflows. This involves several collaborators enabling them to work simultaneously without geographical restrictions. Most translation projects require multiple translators from different locations around the world. A TMS greatly simplifies the complexity that comes with coordinating translation projects.

Why use a TMS?

The traditional way for managing translation projects were spreadsheets and email. This method works but a translation project manager has limited capacity. As the number of translation projects continue to grow while considering factors such as larger volume, tighter deadlines, and detailed specifications creates a layer of complexity for translation project managers adding to its difficulty. If managed manually, complex translation workflows become time-consuming and lead to an increased number of errors. Managing every task while communicating to multiple parties becomes burdensome. Traditionally when organizations reached this point, they would hire more staff to cope with the outgrowth. In the long run though this increases costs making a TMS a viable option to consider. A TMS is a system designed to manage these workflows to concentrate on localization and translation of language assets. It greatly aids the management of translated assets at scale. With a TMS, organizations can boost productivity and reduce costs by centralizing linguistic assets, automating processes and monitoring workflows.

For example, every participant in the workflow receives a notification of a new translation project, and a unique number is assigned to every project so that every task is traceable. Project managers, translators and enterprises work together communicating through the system. All tasks are tracked and monitored within the system making it easy to manage translation projects. After the translation project is finished and approved, the translation memory (TM) is stored for later reuse. Deliveries of the translated materials are typically done through a TMS directly to enterprises for publishing. Translation management systems increase productivity and efficiency of business administration, process management, and data management.

What are the benefits of a TMS?

Management of translation assets and content updates

When an organization produces content in multiple languages, linguistic data needs to be properly stored, managed, and shared. A TMS enables the consolidation and management of assets (translation memories, term bases, etc.) in a single system. The difficulty with management is that more content means more translation. The task of managing a translation project becomes labor intensive when the volume of text increases. A TMS removes repetitive manual labor involved in translation management. A TMS automates much of the translation process to enable scalability, no matter how much content needs to be translated.


Translators and project managers carry out repetitive, time-consuming tasks daily. A TMS enables customized workflows and the automation of tasks that saves valuable time. It can help with handling and exchange of multiple files making document management easier. To automate further many of the TMS available have integrations for common content management systems, eCommerce solutions, and help desks. These centralized integrations make deployment of new language translations effortless.

Workflow assessment

Project tracking is an important feature to any project manager. Translation progress can be monitored in real time, and alert users as translations finish. Translation workflow is displayed from start to finish with all tasks included in the translation project. A TMS centralizes all tasks and crucial information assisting project managers with translation progress and delivery term assessment. Translation management systems allow for custom workflows and automation procedures targeted to each of your clients’ needs and personalities.


A TMS provides efficient real-time communication and collaboration for translators and enterprises working on the same project. A TMS can prioritize valued content. While CAT tools increase efficiency and convenience of the translation process, TMS go a step further to allow users to maintain brand identity by helping to ensure the translated content is contextualized. A TMS gives more visibility to organizations with quality reports and statistics on each translation project to create better products. Some TMS have integrated analytics and reporting, allowing clients to see the direct ROI impact of localization efforts.

How to choose a TMS?

What you choose depends on what you want from a TMS such as:

-Large volume of content that needs to be managed

-Multiple languages and regions that need to be managed

-Multiple platforms that require translation (e.g., manuals, websites, smartphone apps)

-Multiple parties collaborating on a translation project

-Requirements regarding brand vision, identity, and style

Considering the number of translations, languages, regions, locations, collaborators, and guidelines regarding your brand, you should decide from a low-cost solution to a high end comprehensive TMS with extensive features.

Choose a TMS which fits best to your budget and organizational needs.

TMS + idioma®

At idioma® we realized the importance of TMS early on. In 1997 we developed our TMS called the Traffic Control System (TC). Currently, TC6 (version 6) is our TMS, which operates in our cloud-hosted servers where our project managers can manage translation projects and communicate with our translators and clients from anywhere at any time. TC6 helps our project managers to easily manage large scale to small custom translation projects ensuring that every task is attended to with the greatest care. TC6 enables our project managers to manage timelines and requirements fitted to the client's needs and objectives.

At idioma® we analyze each client’s requirements to customize the best solution for their translation projects.

If you have any questions about TMS or would like a translation quote, please contact us at info@idioma.com.