5 Essential Questions to Ask When Selecting a Translation Management System

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Ready to conduct your business on a global scale? If so, a translation management system should be at the top of your priority list. It is important to understand that translation software is a substantial investment that enables you not only to reach your international customers but to connect with them in an exchange that is familiar to them both linguistically and culturally. It is all about creating a user experience that will create engagement, increase sales, and improve SEO. Today’s modern, automated translation management system is much more efficient and cost-effective than the manual processes generally associated with digital content translation.

Taking the time to research potential translation software solutions thoroughly can save you time, money, and possible frustration in the future. However, this process begins by asking pertinent questions, which will help you become more educated on what service offerings these solutions provide and if they support your business objectives. To assist you with this process, here are five vital questions that you should not only be asking internally but to the translation management system companies, you will be vetting. 

Translation Management System

Question 1: How can I get quality translations?

Inquiring about who will be doing your translations is an important question that you should be asking internally as well as to any translation software companies you are evaluating. Getting translation right the first time is critical since one misplaced word can have severe consequences. The last thing you want to do is unknowingly insult your customers due to misinterpretation. If you decide to find your own translators, it may bode well for you to ask if the translation management software service has a professional network of translators available in the event you decide not to use your resources in the future, or want to change mid-project.

Translations are more than just interpreting words from one language to another. It is a practice that must be carefully monitored even when utilizing the talents of the most proficient translators. Human translation is not an exact science, yet the importance of being continually aware of the cultural and linguistic variances of one language versus another is vital for translators. For example, if you need your content translated into Japanese, you need to ensure that Japanese is the translator’s native tongue. A native-speaking translator is highly skilled in a specific language regarding vocabulary, as well as the social expressions, cultural behaviors, and nuances of that given country. Localization can make an enormous difference when it comes to relating to your target audience on a level that feels personal to them.

Question 2: Can you localize mobile apps for any language or platform such as Apple iOS or Android?

Mobile apps undoubtedly are an excellent vehicle for getting your brand’s message out to customers all over the world. Implementing mobile apps on devices such as Apple iOS (iPhone and iPad) and Android enables your brand to be visible to customers at all times – vastly improving customer engagement. However, if your apps aren’t localized for your customer’s native language or don’t have the social and cultural nuances of that country, then you will be missing out on opportunities such as brand recognition, push notifications, sales, and promotional alerts, as well as customer loyalty.

The first step in localizing your mobile apps is integration. It is vital to ask any translation management software service that you are evaluating if they have a tool that can quickly and easily integrate app localization directly into your development process. By utilizing a translation management system, you will be able to localize your apps by automating the numerous steps that are involved. In addition to streamlining this process, localization technology will also prevent any unwanted delays related to translation during the integration phase. Moreover, since you want your apps to have the furthest reach possible, you will want to ensure that the localization tool can support all the standard file formats, including Apple iOS strings, Android XML, and XLIFF.

Localization services are critical to ensuring that your brand’s mobile apps not only adapt translation to your local target markets correctly, but also uses the correct local formats and conversions for dates and times, currencies, addresses, phone numbers, as well as symbols, icons, colors, and graphics. Additionally, it is essential that translators use an in-context interface tool. This powerful localization tool gives translators the advantage of seeing how a word or phrase is being used and if it is linguistically correct. This dramatically helps to minimize any potential mistakes the first time around while saving you time and money. Visual context enables translators to see how the translation will appear in your apps and platforms during translation, thus speeding up the entire process.

Most importantly, having your apps resonate with your customers regardless of their language, culture, or location is the ultimate goal of localization. 

Question 3: Is there complete real-time transparency with your technology?

Technology can make the method of translation and localization a more seamless process; however, effective communication between you and a translation software solution company needs to be a relationship based on transparency, especially when it comes to your translation efforts. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, which is why you need to inquire about how transparent (or not) a translation management system is with their technology.

A translation management system also enables you to collaborate with developers, content creators, translators, and reviewers, while streamlining and managing your translation efforts. This process assists in keeping your projects moving along faster, allowing you to market your brand sooner, and allows you to have visibility in real-time where your translation job sits in the workflow at any given moment – even at 3 am. You will also be able to see who is responsible for moving your projects forward as well as identifying any issues that may arise during the translation process that may affect your deadline. Moreover, you will be able to view translation memory and track project associated costs. Having complete transparency gives you the control you want and need, ensuring you are always in the loop during any of your translation projects. 

Question 4: What type of customer support services and resources do you offer?

Most translation services provide primary contact information; however, do they offer the necessary level of support and online resources you may need as a valued customer? You will want to know whom you can go to directly when you have a general question, or if you have a specific need relating to your translation project. Is there a dedicated resource section that can answer your questions? If not, can you speak with someone directly via the phone or email?

However, if you are seeking a higher level of support such as an administrator who can perform tasks for you so you can focus on your core business, will the translation company provide this as an option for you? Alternatively, perhaps you are looking to consult with an expert on localization who can help with building your brand and creating custom engagement. Do they have experts on hand that you can consult with? Are there in-house professionals who can assist in vendor assessment and selection? What if you need help with content technology, technical design, and integration? Finding out what practice areas the translation software agencies you are evaluating specialize in, and what basic and premium offers are available for support services, is vital as you determine what type of resources your business requires.

Question 5: Who are a few of your past and present customers?

Generally speaking, most translation software solution providers will offer up who their customers are freely (probably before you even ask) because they want to tout their successful experience with them. However, you should probe a little further – beyond the whitepapers and bolded quotations from a satisfied client on their website. Ask point blank if they have had experience working with brands similar to yours regarding product offering, company size, and languages. If so, what were the challenges they encountered if any? How did they overcome these challenges? How long ago did the translation management software company work with said clients, and in what capacity? Do they still work with them? This information will serve as a good indicator as to whether or not the company will be invested in your brand long term if you decide to use their services.

Remember, you can always contact previous and current clients on your own to get first-hand information about their experience and how it impacted their business. Gaining this information may give you an accurate, unbiased perspective.

Finally, you will need to evaluate if the translation management system you ultimately select will meet your organization’s unique set of needs, budgetary parameters, and business goals. Sharing a similar vision of expectations, while remaining steadfast in its commitment to productivity and value are the basis of a stable, symbiotic working relationship.

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