What is a Translation Management System (TMS)?
People in our industry have created an alphabet soup of jargon to make your life as hard as possible. That's not entirely true although it does seem that way. ;)
BMS, TMS, TM, TB, TMX, QMS, Logfile, and so on...terms that only have meaning within a very restricted domain: localization.
TMS stands for Translation Management Systems and it literally means a System that helps Managing Translations.
Helpful right? :)
What does it mean to manage translations from a systems requirement perspective?
These are the minimum requirements any TMS must fulfill in order to meet definition requirements:
- Must process files - converts one or more file types into translatable files through file filtering, parsing, and segmentation
- Must provide a translation editing environment - provides an environment where original text and translation show up in a friendly way so that users can interface with
- Must provide translation memory and terminology management.
These are the bare bones. You can meet these requirements and still run on a rudimentary TMS.
A more advanced TMS begins with these basic requirements and builds on them by adding
- Project management functionalities with jobs/tasks that can be assigned to users
- Permission granularity with different kinds of roles and access levels
- Machine translation integrations
- Connectors to content management systems
- Business management with payables and receivables associated with a given project
- Quality management governance that allows administrators to understand how different kinds of language pairs and content types are performing and how to improve
- Automation capabilities so that basic processes such as quoting or dispatching no longer require user management
Each of these items are entire universes onto themselves.
The basic message here is that the term TMS can apply to systems that cannot be comparable even though they have the same TMS lable.
The secondary message is that when looking at TMS it's crucial to look way beyond demos and features and truly examine whether or not the TMS will be able to solve your localization-aches.